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NY Resolutions Healthier Media Habits for Families

Healthier Media Habits

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 intentions eh!

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 overdue.

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,

  • Have basic limits on screen time.  Whether it’s Fortnite or ‘I need to for Homework J’ keep an eye on the time spent online.
  • This 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.
  • Lead 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!
  • Use a good parental control.  Some even have Fortnite specific settings. 
  • If 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.


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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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