Are you concerned that your child is a digital addict?

There is little doubt that we are now living in a digital age.  We seem to be swimming in a sea of technological gadgets and devices.  Even adults can find the sheer volume overwhelming – but what might it be doing to our children? Are you concerned that your child is – or may soon become – a digital addict?

Today the array of devices and gadgets available is considerable, ranging from television to computers to tablets, smartphones and MP3 players – to name just a few.

Concerns about some of these – such as the television – may have been around for decades. But others are more recent and the profusion of still more devices appears to grow all the time, with the development of new technologies limited only by the human imagination.

An independent study from Foresters (the international financial services and membership organisation ) revealed that the average family will only spend 4.4 hours in a weekend socialising together without technology, meaning a real lack of family quality time.

Some research suggests that children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend a staggering seven and a half hours a day feeding their digital addiction – whether this is by watching television, surfing the internet, playing video games or using their smartphones or tablets. Yet other research reveals that more than 20% of parents have no idea what their children may be viewing online.

As our children show signs of becoming digital omnivores, devouring technology on several platforms (often all at once!) the statistics make it difficult to understand how children are finding the time to do anything else – even the most basic of activities like going to school, eating and sleeping. And that is precisely the problem. Immersed in their increasingly digital world, children are finding it more and more difficult to relate to people in the real world and recognise the range of emotions others may feel.

The National Literacy Trust polled 35,000 children and discovered that only 25% of them did any reading outside the classroom, with 20% of them being embarrassed even to be caught reading something as old fashioned as a book.


If these are issues you identify in your own child’s behaviour, perhaps it is the moment to take time out. The Tech Timeout initiative is a campaign aiming to restore a healthy dose of reality to family life – and the goals of the campaign couldn’t be simpler.

It can be summed up by the simple act of turning it off – whatever the digital device or gadget, it has a switch. The switch lets you turn it off. And with the device turned off you might re-establish your bonds with your children (and your partner too), rekindling the art of conversation and actually involving yourselves more closely in each other’s real lives.

What may come as a mixture of surprise and relief is the fact that the Tech Timeout challenge encourages a relatively minor step in the right direction – spending just an hour a day for a week together as a family, with the electronic digital devices safely switched off.

Take the challenge

If you are worried that your child may be becoming a digital addict, if you yourself are headed that way, or if the distance is growing between you and your partner, you might want to pick up the challenge and take your own timeout.


About the author:Steve Dilworth is MD of the Member Network UK at Foresters, the international financial services (FS) and membership organisation. He has extensive experience within the charity and FS sector, with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics and a Degree in FS. He is Chair of Soho Ltd, a subsidiary of Soho Housing Association, and Chairs Bromley Neighbourhood Police Panel. In 2012 he was elected as a Community Champion for the London Borough of Bromley.


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24 thoughts on “Are you concerned that your child is a digital addict?

  1. This shouldn’t be an issue to parents rather should be taken in to advantage. in this digital age, parents should support their children they’ll never know their sons or daughters might be the next digital expert or digital master

    1. You have a point and of course I agree digital knowledge is a must for the new generation. However, it is the duty of parents to make sure that children do not go beyond what is healthy. If their health is already at stake, parents have to step in or better yet, set the limit/rules beforehand.

  2. Our addiction to technology or digital thing is somewhat alarming nowadays. It certainly has the benefit in our daily lives but it also affects our health. Do not overindulge into it especially among our youth.

  3. It is really hard to entertain kids today, unlike before when gadget is not popular. I try to limit my online time too so my son will follow..

  4. I am a little bit concerned. But I told my husband this afternoon that I’m hiding the iPad and only giving it to him when we go out for lunch/dinner so that he’s entertained when eating. The rest of the time, he’ll have to make do with his toys and books. Gadgets take so much of their attention and honestly, having to call his attention many times doesn’t sit well with me and his Dad.

  5. One of the things I wish we didn’t do was buy the tablet and allowed our kids to play computer games. It’s been so hard controlling their use and is one of the major issues we have at home nowaday. Grrrr.

  6. I’m not a Mom but sometimes, I cringed at parents who makes children have facebook accounts at a young age. Sana some are really responsible because there are a lot of not so nice things in the internet nowadays.

  7. My aunt and uncle have taken the timeout since the doctor advised that their kid should not play with anything digital. He’s now about five years old and does know so little words because he just kept on playing games on the iPad.

  8. I don’t have a child but when it comes to the usage of gadgets should be considered nowadays and yes it would be better to have some rules to be applied.

  9. I know this is a challenge for me as a single mom. I have two teenage daughters but the only problem I have for now is my eldest daughter. I think my eldest daughter is one of the digital addict. Oh no, do I have to panic now? What should I do? She loves to play with her tablets or in our PC. And always have her cellphone even if it’s already drained, selfie here and there!

  10. i am so guilty of this my daughter got an ipad, iphone and her own laptop. though when she does her homework there’s no gadgets or anything and can only use it until 5pm she’s in school without any gadgets from 7am to 3pm

  11. I take it upon myself to strictly monitor my kid’s gadget time. It’s tough coz it takes a lot of extra effort on my part, and also because I need to think of other ways to keep him busy. It makes a huge difference though. He’s been less moody, more attentive, and he does better in school now that I’m doing this.

  12. My kids are not digital addict naman, they play outside and also read books from time to time. In a way kase ayaw ko din ng masyadong exposed sa gadgets, kahit ako, hindi maka gadget, if not for blogging, I wouldn’t be online 🙂

  13. We usually have limited time for gadget use for our 3-year old son, that applies to me and my husband as well. Even, tv – it’s been 8 months that we have not turned it on but we don’t really miss it.

  14. I think this is a problem with our little man especially this summer time. He’s been at hooked to every digital device in the house. I’ve been encouraging him to go out and play.

  15. Honestly, I am one of those that prefer not to over expose my kids to tablets, smartphones and computers. I prefer ti wait until they are a little older.

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