Happy New Year Parents! I hope you’ve had a
lovely Christmas break and whether you’re back to work or still enjoying some
time off, like me you’re starting to think about those tricky New Year’s
Resolutions. Some of you may be making a list or, like me, just hoping you can
stick to one or two of them. Good
So many of us of thinking about losing some
weight, eating a bit better and generally just getting a bit healthier – after
all the Christmas food and drinks.
Something we could also start to think about – and believe me I’m going through the same challenges at home, are some healthier media habits. Perhaps looking at regulating our own and helping our children and teenagers regulate their media habits.
Fortnite is the word on every parents lips
this year – don’t worry you’re only one of parents of 125 million children and
teens including one in 5 dads who’ve played it. Followed by Red Dead Redemption
and Black Ops etc. While these games use
voracious marketing techniques and deploy questionable and unethical targeting
ploys on children they’ll be replaced at
some point by the next gaming phenomenon.
The names will change but the impact and
appeal to kids will be the same. Therefore looking at regulating and taking
control of time spent on them, thinking about them, talking about them, losing
our minds over the time children obsess and are distracted by them – is well
We all know that screen time is huge for our
kids today and that some of it can be great fun, creative and advantageous –
but nothing beats playing, learning how to do things, time outside and just..old
fashioned talking. So we need to create
a balance in our homes.
The following tips might be welcomed for
families who’ve ate, slept and lived Fortnite this Christmas.
(On the plus side, the Fortnite Dance off’s
were cool (sorry kids, or is it ‘savage’ or ‘beast’?) with even grannies
joining in The Hype and Floss (I have footage J)).
So here goes,
basic limits on screen time. Whether
it’s Fortnite or ‘I need to for Homework J’
keep an eye on the time spent online.
may seem like a contradiction – but make time for media with your kids. Reading
stories and watching and listening to music online are great fun to do together
and will help your kids recognise you’re not the
OgreWhoHatesThemHavingScreenTime. They may be more inclined to listen to you
then when you set rules around devices.
by example. Be conscious of how much
time you spend checking Whatsapp, trawling Facebook, Insta and Pinterest. Try
to minimise the tech distractions. I knoooww it’s hard!
a good parental control. Some even have
Fortnite specific settings.
you have any misgivings, restrict headset use. Swearing does happen and
inappropriate language. You’ll be the
best judge of how much you need to supervise.
Lastly, Fortnite may be driving us all crazy
but it has been known to bond siblings and help make friends. Either way time
restrictions are key. Set times and stick to them. And for parents, the Top Tip is that Fortnite
can be used to persuade/bribe most children to do chores, become more
(superficially?) helpful and appreciative. Even if it’s just for more game time
– us parents will take that J.
Stay safe online and off.
Wayne Denner is a speaker, author and expert on Online Reputation and Wellbeing. Wayne helps young people protect and improve their digital presence. Visit waynedenner.com for more information.