School’s out for summer

Summer holidays are here and many working parents of school age children are feeling simultaneously happy that they can drop the daily morning harassment of children to get up, fed and out the door, whilst also stressed that they must organise either child care or entertainment for six weeks.

High-minded principles about the use of Xbox (other devices are available) or back-to-back watching of Netflix (other streaming services are available) and limits on the amount of ‘screen time’ – lots of which is spent on phones checking social media – go out the window in many households, or at least get somewhat softened as the long days of summer plod on…

It’s not all fake smiles, games and Vampire Diaries, however. A 2017 report from Tech Insider suggested that most kids and teenagers get their news from their social media feeds.

With increased screen time becoming the norm – one recent survey suggested from three to eight hours a day for boys aged 13-16 – there is also increased opportunity for teenagers absorb ‘the news’, albeit through the social media channels they use.

Does this mean the teenagers of today are becoming more engaged with the world around them? To a large extent, I believe it does. A glance at the TV news (sorry, old-style I know but I am the older generation) shows us that particularly here in the UK younger people seem more fired up than they have for aeons (e.g. since I was a youngster). While this is in my view a positive thing, the quality of the news on offer and of course, the chances of stumbling in to fake news make this challenging for parents and for children. We should therefore teach ourselves and our children to be wary when we’re absorbing news from social media channels.  A quick google of ‘how to spot fake’ news can help garner some tips and resources in this regard.

I think it’s great that the younger generation is engaging with the news. I ask my son to give me a summary of the morning’s headlines when he returns from his paper round each day, which just heightens his view of me as a dinosaur (not to mention all the people he delivers papers to!)

Written by Emma Murphy, Director (@EmmaMurphy)

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