Digital technologies could be a force for good, aiding online learning, socialising and helping people to manage health conditions. However, there can be a downside for social development, potentially even having a negative effect on mental health.

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has issued some guidance on the use of mobile devices for the whole family. Parents should consider their own use and demonstrate good habits.

What does the guidance recommend that parents do?

There are several clear steps for parents, which the Chief Medical Officer says will help keep children safe and healthy.

These include:

  • not using phones and mobile devices at the dinner table – talking as a family is very important for development
  • keeping screens out of the bedroom at bedtime
  • talking as a family about keeping safe online, about cyber-bulling and what children should do if they are worried
  • not using phones when crossing a road or doing any other activity that requires a person’s full attention
  • making sure children take a break from screens every two hours by getting up and being active
  • policing their own use too – parents should give their children proper attention and quality family time and never assume they are happy for pictures to be shared
  • parents need to demonstrate good behaviour.

Jane Craw
Head of PSHE

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