This week in Australia, it’s Mental Health Week. One in seven young Australians experience a mental health condition. The number of deaths by suicide in young Australians is currently the highest it’s been in 10 years. Suicide kills more young Australians than car accidents.
Let that sink in for a moment.
It’s a no brainer that excessive screen time and social media are delivering unrealistic expectations to our kids. With photoshopped, filtered and seemingly flawless happy images shared incessantly, it’s no wonder our kids are anxious, depressed and feeling like underachievers. They don’t understand that it’s not a reflection of reality. They don’t comprehend that behind every picture is a different story than what is perhaps depicted. It’s not real. It’s toxic. It’s damaging for self-esteem, it’s disastrous for mental health.
Our kids don’t have iPads. Boo… Hiss…. I can hear you now, snigger snigger, fun wrecker.
We do actually have an iPad. But after our kids cracked the screen twice, I decided they weren’t going to get the chance to break it a third time. So now it’s hidden, not sure what to do with it, but it’s not an option for entertaining our kids.
Our kids on the other hand, they absolutely loved the iPad. It was full of games and they would happily sit for HOURS playing on it if they could (and often did) and when they weren’t, they would fight and argue about who’s turn it was. Nightmare.
Since we became an “iPad free family”, the change has been incredible. Our kids get up in the morning and play together. I have even developed a new respect and love for the ginormous box of plastic Barbies we have collected over the years, as they will play together with them for hours. Last week in the School holidays, they played Lego together for 9hrs!
They create, they write, they make up songs and concerts, they interact, they laugh, they move, they engage, they connect, they express.
I’m certainly not saying there isn’t a place for kids using smart screens, but until it’s compulsory for our kids to have a tablet of some form for school, they won’t be having one.
Our kids have our old mobile phones. They adore them. They have no sim cards in them so they can’t call anyone or google anything, but they do have a LOT of music. They constantly listen to songs, dance, and make hilarious movies of themselves. It’s enough for now, a gentle introduction to technology.