Worried that your child is having too much screen time? Maybe it’s time re-boot our thinking around how LONG they are spending on tablets, and prioritise WHAT they are doing on them

Written by Tracey Blake

The Summer school holidays seem endless and, like most parents, I am probably letting my children use their tablets more than usual at the moment as I juggle the usual jigsaw of taking time off work, camps, playdates and a roster of regular Student Nannies filling in the gaps and helping with pick-ups.

But rather than my usual concerns about screen time, I’ve tried to keep in mind an article by my friend Elizabeth Tweedale, the founder of the brilliant Cypher. She wrote this piece in The Times that was so thought provoking. The top lines are that….

There are four types of screen time:

Creative (making music, art, videos, writing stories or developing apps)

Communicative (talking to friends on Snapchat or WhatsApp)

Active (gaming and social-media grazing)

Passive (goggling at YouTube or TV)

According to Tweedale, the first shouldn’t be limited, the second generally not unless your child can’t get off social media; gaming will need limits during the week, and passive goggling should have strict limits.

I literally saw this ‘quality verses quantity’ issue in action yesterday, when Minnie and Monty spent a really happy hour and a half together using my lap top and one iPod to do various things – notably NOT playing Minecraft!

The first was, bizarrely, writing their Christmas lists which actually was very creative – they were typing in toys into Chrome, searching for them, seeing what they wanted and then hand-writing a list, complete with prices.  They took turns and each advised each other on their choices which was very sweet.

Then they started taking pictures of each other using funny face melting effects which had them in hysterics. They laughed in harder when Nanny posed for pictures too.

Next Minnie decided she wanted to bake a cake and they started Googling recipes and checking out options on You Tube – far more ambitious than my skills could deliver I might add.

Not once did I think they’d had ‘too much’ screen time because they were learning new skills, chatting, having fun.

I’ll certainly encourage more of this action and creative screen time in future!