Digital free days seem like a thing of the past. In the age of the internet, technology is always at our fingertips – from smartphones to laptops to smartwatches. It’s no surprise that children are growing up in a world where digital technology is ubiquitous. While there are undeniable benefits to this technology, such as easier access to information and communication with family and friends, there are also many potential drawbacks on children’s mental health. In this essay, we will explore the importance of digital free days on the mental health of children. I have to reflect personally on myself. I am rarely of my phone, and I am sure that it is essential everytime. As the person who models behavior to my children, a digital free day for them should also mean a digital free day for me.
Is It Really an Issue?
The rise of digital technology has been linked to increased rates of anxiety and depression among children. According to a study conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health, social media use has been linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem in children. Furthermore, excessive screen time has been linked to sleep disturbances, which have a negative impact on mood and cognitive function. We have a specific article on the responsible use of social media.
Everything digital is not bad. Being able to communicate with people in other countries, even having a refreshing ‘zone out- time on a computer game after a stressful day. A digital free day is important when the balance is lost. The ability to not immediately reach into the pocket when there is a break in conversation. When offered a family game, to be able to see beyond the missing gaming time. Screen addiction is a classified medical condition and we have advice on how to break it.
What Are the Benefits of a Digital Free Day?
Taking a break from digital technology can provide a wide range of benefits for children’s mental health. Specifically, digital free days have been linked to improved sleep quality, decreased stress and anxiety levels, and greater engagement with the real world. By taking a step back from the constant stimulation and information overload of the digital world, children can reduce their stress levels and increase their overall sense of well-being. Furthermore, engaging with the real world through outdoor activities or creative hobbies can provide a sense of fulfillment that cannot be replicated through screen time.
A digital fee day is also a way for you and your family to take some time to bond. To deepen relationships. It is too easy for all of us to say, we will do it tomorrow. If you were having a ‘yes day‘ with your children, you might be surprised how many of them will ask to spend time together rather than more time on their screens. Quality time with your child is about emotionally as well as physically present.
There are many practical ways that parents can help their children have digital free days. One easy method is to establish a “no screen time” rule during meal times or family outings, allowing families to engage with each other without the distraction of technology. Additionally, parents can encourage their children to engage in physical activities, creative hobbies, or socializing with friends in the real world. Breaking the habit of constantly reaching for their screens can be difficult for some children, but with encouragement and a supportive environment, it is possible to establish habits that prioritize mental health over digital stimulation.
How Often Should We Go Digital Free?
While digital technology can certainly have benefits, it’s important to understand the potential consequences for children’s mental health. By regularly incorporating digital free days into children’s schedules, parents can help promote a healthier relationship with technology and a greater engagement with the real world. This can have long-term benefits for children’s overall sense of well-being and mental health.
Also a screen free day is very finite. Maybe a more balanced method is being have screen free evenings, or afternoons at the weekend. It might be that you look at how your family works and make a working and long term solution. We talk more about managing screen time here.
Final Thoughts on Digital Free Days
The importance of digital free days on the mental health of children cannot be overstated. As parents, it’s our responsibility to help our children prioritize their mental health, and that includes taking regular breaks from the endless stimulation and information overload of the digital world. By encouraging our children to engage with the real world through creative hobbies, physical activities, and socializing with friends, we can help them lead happier and healthier lives.