East Anglian parents find tackling children’s screen time is one of their top struggles

Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley/ Daily Telegraph/PA Wire

Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley/ Daily Telegraph/PA Wire - Credit: PA

More than a quarter of parents in our region struggle to get their children to take part in activities away from screens, a survey has found.

The charity Action for Children commissioned the research, asking parents what they found to be the hardest behaviours to control in their children.

Around 26% of people in the east of England who responded to the survey said limiting technology-based activities was the biggest struggle, more so than getting young people to eat healthily or do their homework.

Yolanda Hampshire, operational director at Action for Children in the East of England, said tackling the issue required a joint effort from parents and children.

'Technology is an often necessary part of the lives of children and parents alike, but it's important to maintain a balance with other activities and quality family time,' she said.

'We know from our extensive work with families that strong relationships with parents build resilience in children, making them less susceptible to bullying or abuse outside the home, and encouraging them to speak to their parents about any fears or concerns. As well as the conscious effort to cut down on screen-time, some parents benefit from additional support, such as dropping in for a chat or attending support groups at children's centres, to learn how to better connect with their children.'

Action for Children is currently running its National Children's Hour campaign which encourages parents and children to unplug and play, and enjoy some old-fashioned fun together.

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It has also recommended some ideas on how parents could help children take more breaks away from screens, including planning activities for the whole family which do not involve technology and drawing on their own childhood experiences.

The charity also suggests identifying the challenges children enjoy in video games and replicating them in real life, such as encouraging them to play sport or go to a match and organising a board game night.

•You can find your nearest Action for Children service at www.actionforchildren.org.uk.