Parents all over the UK are pledging to take a break from technology for National Unplugging Day on Sunday the 28th of June, 2015. This is the second year of the nationwide event which encourages people to put down their phones for 24 hours and live life unplugged.
So many children these days are sucked into their screens, and parenting experts have warned that this can cause face-to-face communication skills to go undeveloped. Face-to-face interaction is an important building block in a child’s social, emotional and cognitive growth. Not only does their vocabulary and articulation expand, but they learn to recognise social cues and use body language. From a very early age, children are observing their parents spending countless hours on their phones and tablets, and they grow up imitating that behaviour. It’s very much ‘monkey see, monkey do’, and National Unplugging Day is an excellent chance for parents to lead by example and give their full attention to their children.
A survey carried out on over 6,000 parents from across the UK shows that the average parent uses their smartphone a shocking 240 times a day! This is for sending emails, checking social media and sending text messages. A whopping 47% said that they check Facebook, Twitter and other social media before doing anything else, while over half of parents admitted to sleeping next to their smartphone. The addiction is real, people.
Tablets and smartphones can be great tools for rewarding kids for their good behaviour, or for pacifying a child when they’re upset. But there’s a risk of relying on it too much, so it’s important to get the balance right. National Unplugging Day is not just about turning off for one day. It’s about encouraging everyone – not just parents – to be mindful of their digital usage and practice putting aside the smart devices for a healthier lifestyle. Take your children on a bike ride, just you and the wind – no selfies or status updates. Meet your friends for coffee, have a conversation and thoroughly engage in it from start to finish - you can come back to those crazy cat memes another time!
Can you survive 24 hours without your smartphone? Join the pledge and ditch your smart devices for National Unplugging Day on Sunday 28th June 2015!