Reader Letter: Parents need to learn to say 'no'

PUBLISHED: 13:24 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:24 14 August 2018

Brother and sister playing on a tablet. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Brother and sister playing on a tablet. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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One reader thinks parents have a responsibility to say no when children want to spend their time on technology. What do you think?

In response to Charlotte Smith-Jarvis’s article (August 10) “Can’t kids turn off video games and play outside?” The answer is yes they can.

The parent needs to learn to use the word no and use it constantly when the request for screen time is demanded. Children do not need to play mindless video games. If they want to play with friends they should be outdoors playing football, making dens, exploring.

Parents should be taking the children to parks, for walks in the woods, picnics on the beach. The child’s need for playing video games would then be put in abeyance. They would be healthily tired, will be fitter and more sociable.

I also believe even allowing an hour’s screen time is excessive, is this only computer screen time or is there then hours watching television? I am sure the programmes watched will not be educational but the mindless reality shows that seem to dominate.

I am a grandparent and we have no television, our granddaughter happily spends days with us, she plays outside, helps with animals, goes for walks with us, or she plays indoors with the doll’s house, she listens to music, reads, dresses up, paints, makes things.

I allow her about 20 minutes just before tea time to go on my laptop and then only to play the games that she has access to at school. Our granddaughter at home has limited time to watch television, is seldom allowed onto the laptop. She walks miles, cycles, swims in the sea, learns to surf and sail. She is a real outdoors little girl, (8.5 years old). Her parents have encouraged her to play indoors and outdoors, and discouraged screen time of any kind.

It makes me so cross when parents say my children will not switch off their computer/phone/tablet — please parents act like parents and use the word “no”. You have a responsibility to bring your children up to go out into the world, not for them to be glued to a screen, never learn to be sociable or only interact through sending messages online.

But the crux of the matter is it is just so easy to say yes and let the children do as they like even if it means they are playing/watching something mindless for hours on end, it requires no parental effort whatsoever.

Charlotte Jarvis-Smith should have used to opportunity to have said to her son well that’s what happens when you play mindless/stupid games on the computer (when he was hacked and kicked out) and to go on to say well they are not very good friends are they?

Let’s go and play football instead of raging on her son’s behalf. She has said all the right things in the article about kids playing outside but does not seem to be enforcing it! An article on how her children have played outside all summer would have read so much better.

Do you agree with our reader? Let us know in the comments below or write to us at

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