that's life (Australia) - - Contents - Linda Smith, Edi­tor linda@paci­fic­mags.com.au

Too much screen time, as in our smart­phones, tablets, com­put­ers and TV is a real is­sue for many of us. I know I am con­scious of the amount of time I waste aim­lessly scrolling through Face­book or In­sta­gram. I won’t even men­tion those nights I am slumped, zom­bielike in front of the telly, watch­ing a film I didn’t even like much the first time I saw it! For par­ents it’s even more of an is­sue, as kids be­come ad­dicted to games, their phones, YouTube etc. A friend of mine, Emma, is not yet strug­gling with screen is­sues. In fact, she smugly be­lieved her two lit­tle ones, Imo­gen, two, and Thomas, five, were very ‘at one’ with na­ture. But af­ter watch­ing an ex­cel­lent doco about get­ting kids into the wild, be­cause these days it hap­pens so rarely, she and her hubby Martin thought they should prob­a­bly or­gan­ise a proper bush out­ing. How did it go, I asked her in an email. Her re­ply? “Things were FAR WORSE THAN I THOUGHT! As we got out of the car Imo­gen asked daddy why his phone wouldn’t stop ring­ing – it was a BIRD! She then started scream­ing be­cause she’d spot­ted a ‘cock­roach’ (which was ac­tu­ally a bee), and all the while Thomas was hav­ing a tantrum be­cause he thought the birds I’d men­tioned we would see were go­ing to be in cages??! Any­way, head in hands, Martin and I re­alised we needed far longer in the wild than pre­vi­ously thought. So we gave them some sticks and told them we were there all morn­ing. It was great in the end and far more fun than ei­ther of the kids had thought. Which was ex­actly the con­clu­sion of the doco!” I’d love to hear how your fam­ily tack­les the is­sue of screen-time vs na­ture!

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