At Jamie’s Farm children come to spend a week without access to technology. Over 6,000 children have visited and we’ve heard very few complaints. Visiting children speak of the relief at not having the tyranny of their phones. They become present, engage and try new things. They grow in confidence to speak out with their own ideas, learn to listen to others, and they flourish. Instagram and Facebook are full of what people want to be thought of, but not what they are really like inside. This gap is leading to growing mental health problems in our children.
As adults, it is our responsibility to protect children from undue harm. We know that our children should be protected from harmful images of self-harm and suicide. We know that children need their sleep and often won’t have the self-restraint to resist the pull of their screens (the same can be said for many of us adults). We wouldn’t stand for our children being bullied in schools, and we know they are vulnerable to such vicious behaviour in the unpoliced online world. Our experience at Jamie’s Farm is that children are crying out for appropriate boundaries to be put in place, because it makes them feel safe (even though they rally against them at first). At the end of a week with us, they are grateful for the protection. Government, parents and social media companies need to act as the adults we are and protect our children from the new harms of 21st century technology.
Written in response to an article published this week in The Telegraph called “Ban children’s smartphones from mealtimes and before bed, parents told.” For the full article click here.
Written by Tish Feilden, Founder & Lead Therapist