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Resources
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Using Screens For Good This Summer by Alicia Drummond, Therapist & Founder of The Wellbeing Hub

School is done but most of us are still working, and the prospect of six weeks trying to entertain your offspring without giving in to a total gaming/social media fest, may already be causing you nightmares.

A May 2020 survey conducted by Churchill Insurance showed that just 44% of parents make it past lunchtime before their children are complaining of boredom, and the pressure to provide wall to wall entertainment can be overwhelming.  Boredom is a feeling which has mixed reviews because it is the font of both risky behaviour in teenagers, and creativity.  For parents the challenge is to allow enough boredom for creativity, but not so much that they will seek to alleviate it at any cost.

Spending hours on screens may not seem like risky behaviour, but gaming addiction is now a recognised mental health disorder, and in most families the biggest battles between parents and their children centre on the use of screens.  As parents we need to protect them from harm whilst encouraging them to become responsible digital citizens.  It is not the screens, but the mindless use of them, which causes problems.  It’s all about balance.

A couple of hours of Minecraft or Fifa with friends is fun, challenging, creative and social, and when balanced out with a family board game, some exercise and a couple of household chores, not a bad way to spend a day.  Scrolling through TikTok videos and social media feeds brings fewer benefits, but has its place in terms of feeling connected and current.  Technology is not the problem, and there are lots of activities which are only really possible because of it, but teenagers need to learn to be discerning consumers to get the best out of it.

Work with your teens to create a family screen contract – see our contract in The Wellbeing Hub – be prepared to negotiate if you want their buy in.

Next get them thinking about how they are using technology.  Challenge everyone to come up with ten ways to use screens for good and then suggest they try at least ten of the ideas over the course of the summer, and commit to a minimum of two as longer term projects.  Here are a few to get you started:-

Micro-Tyco Innovate At Home is challenging students to create an innovative idea that will help make life easier for people in their local community.  Use YouTube videos to learn any new skill from building an engine to making sourdough bread.  TED talks are a brilliant way of learning about a subject from an expert.  Typing Club teaches touch typing.  Learn to code with Codecademy.  Media Smart aims to raise young people’s interest in creative careers by challenging 11-16 year olds to design their own advert.  Challenge them to get creative on iMovie.  Learn to play a guitar with Guitar Tricks.  Create digital music using Bloom.  Take on a challenge with the Dyson foundation.  Learn to cook with Delia Smith.  Join Joe Wicks to get fit.  Learn mindfulness with Calm or Headspace. Boost that CV with Google Digital Garage.  Volunteer with organisations like EcoSwell or learn about geocaching and join the world’s largest treasure hunt.

Technology doesn’t need to be just about staring at a screen for hours.  It is brilliant for sparking ideas and providing platforms and information to help us do, learn, participate, share, get active, create and contribute.  If your teenager is into running but struggles to motivate themselves to go alone, suggest they phone a friend who can become their virtual running buddy.  Why not chat to a friend on Zoom whilst painting, cooking or model making.  Teenagers need to feel connected to their friends, but there is no reason why they can’t do something life enhancing at the same time.

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Parenting After Parting: Advice For Parents Wishing To Take Their Children On Holiday by Annabel Andreou, Solicitor In The Family & Divorce Team at Debenhams Ottaway

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Prospective Memory & Decision Making by Alicia Drummond, Therapist & Founder of The Wellbeing Hub

Prospective memory develops during childhood and adolescence through to our mid-twenties, but during the teenage years other factors come into play which make it less reliable in certain circumstances. Teenagers need to become increasingly independent in preparation for leaving home and prospective memory plays an important role in helping them achieve this goal. Alicia explains the relationship between prospective memory, alcohol and decision making, and shares tips on how to prevent lapses of prospective memory.

How To Counter Eco-Anxiety by Katrina Judge, Founder & Director of Young Climate Warriors

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Understanding ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitits) CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) by Alicia Drummond, Parenting Expert & Therapist

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Supporting young people in an uncertain world following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by Alicia Drummond, Therapist & Founder of The Wellbeing Hub

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Eating Disorders with Alicia Drummond, Therapist & Founder of The Wellbeing Hub

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Revision & Mocks: Advice for Parents by Lizzie Mitchell, University Lecturer & Tutor

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In conversation with Emma-Jane Taylor On Teens & Mental Health

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Talking About Race And Ethnicity With Children & Teens

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