It all began, many years ago, with the invention of the television. An incredible innovation, bringing the cinema into your own living room, providing entertainment for the family. Fast-forward a handful of decades, and we’re living in the 21st century. For every person, there’s at least one screen; and many of those are classed as a handheld device such as a smartphone or tablet. We are becoming ever-increasingly dependant on our handy little screens, and our kids addicted to tablets.
I’ve written before about how our children have become the online generation; not only learning to use technology to it’s potential from the get-go, the high risk of online abuse, etc, but also as children whose parents record every step of their childhood on social media and blogs, just like this one. With our heightened use of social media and technological devices, the desire for such is instilled in our children and O has managed to expertly use an iPad and iPhone for most of his life.
Recently, we decided to start to cut down O’s use of the computer tablet. He would get up in the morning, watch kids shows on Netflix with his face just inches away from the tablet screen. Come home from school and play games, use educational apps and the BBC iPlayer. He put up such a fight against reading his school books, never mind his own books, when he’s always really enjoyed and excelled at reading. His school teacher had introduced us to a great free reading app, that we tried to encourage, but he preferred to vegetate in front of a moving picture instead. He’s such a bright-minded boy, I couldn’t let it continue.
I commented in his update at 5 years, 6 months that he was a bit out of sorts, moody and unhappy. I wasn’t quite sure what it was that was causing the issues, and do believe it was a number of things all building up. We’ve ‘lost’ the iPad now, and haven’t had it out for more than a couple of months. Since then, O has spent more time reading his favourite books, playing with toys, playing outside on his bike and scooter, and starting a new sports class in the week. He does still occasionally play on apps on our smartphones, and watched his shows on the television, but not to the degree he did before.
Unsurprisingly, situations like ours aren’t uncommon. A recent survey of 1000 parents has concluded that less than half of those taking part witnessed their children lost in a story at bedtime, usually due to poor concentration. On average, children concentrate on a book for a maximum of 30 minutes – with some averaging only up to 10 minutes. This is in stark contrast to the time they can spend at a screen – 53 minutes on their favourite computer game – almost twice the time they will happily spend with a book.
Concentration is key whatever our age and studies have shown an association between higher intakes of fish and cognitive, academic or behavioural benefits, but most experts believe the benefits stem from the omega-3 fatty acids which are found in oily fish. However, the average intake of oily fish, our best dietary source of omega-3, is 54g per week – less than half the recommended 140g. If, like me, you struggle to get your children eating oily fish, Equazen offer a range of family supplements to improve children’s reading. The latest study revealed a 64% greater improvement in reading comprehension when the diet was supplemented with Equazen in the first three months of the trial.
Have you considered using omega-3 supplements? How do you kids fare on the tablet v reading front?
*This is a collaborative post