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Kath Healy from Nature Play WA joins Kirste, Mike and Corey on Breakfast every fortnight. This week she spoke about Nature Play’s upcoming digital well-being seminars.  The seminars are funded by Lottery West and aim to equip families of young children to reduce and replace phone use.

“We know that parents or families have problems with device use” says Kath.

“We all do it. Parents use them too much; kids use them too much.”

Nature Play’s strategy to help families is to resource families to provide alternatives to digital use.

“We pick up our phone because we don’t have something else that we planned to do or want to do. It’s about replacing device use and balancing it with time outdoors and time spent with family.”

The seminar program kicks off with a road show around the state. Nature Play CEO Griffin Longley will be speaking around the states to parents of children aged 0 to 12. The seminars will address how to create a media plan or digital agreement for the family.

Young people and phone use

When making digital agreements or plans across the family, Kath stresses the importance of communicating with children and not being dictatorial. It can sometimes be simplistic to say “you’ve seen your friends all day, get off the phone” to children.

“For young people, devices and digital technology are part of their lives and it is part of their social structure.”

“It’s part of who they are now. If we take that away from them completely we’re actually ostracising them from their social groups.”

“Then we’re just building resentment inside the family.”

Bringing children along for the discussion in a constructive way puts the family on the same page. Kath says to discuss the goals for the family dynamic together and to ask whether to spend more time together as a family.

The Nature Play seminars will look at the research on digital use and practical tips you can use. For more information, visit the Nature Play Facebook or go to the upcoming seminar at Fremantle PCYC on April 2.

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