Aluna Behaviour Consultancy
Newsletter Number 4, July 2022
Get Set for Summer!!
Whether you’re a parent or a professional are you concerned about the potential behaviour issues for your children during the summer break? A huge change in routine, lots of freedom and (sometimes) good weather can tempt children into worrying daily patterns and risky behaviour. I work with families all year round to manage children’s challenging behaviour in all settings. Here’s a useful guide for parents. Do you have any tips and tricks you’d like to share?
Excessive use of the internet and gaming is a problem for many children. Some and adults have got it totally under control, but most haven’t figured out what a healthy relationship with social media looks like, how long they should spend gaming, or the potential difficulties in building their interpersonal development in real life (IRL) or in the real world (ITRW).
Spending time on social media has become almost a way of life for most people; whether scrolling through videos of cuddly cats and wacky dances for several hours a day. Is it healthy for children to have the same habits and how do you know if they're being safe on social media?
Child psychologist Dr Kate Eshleman explores the potential dangers of children using social media, to them talking to them about how to stay safe, not becoming ‘addicted’ to it and not take a lot of what they see as factual.
How social media affects children
Most social media apps require users to be at least 13 years old, but parents have shared that 50% of children aged 10 to 12 years old and 33% of children aged 7 to 9 years old use social media apps. Social media makes it easy for children to compare themselves to others as people put on social media what they want you to see which gives them access to endless information anytime they want. Children are more likely to have problematic digital behaviours like having friends who online-only and visiting sites that lead to a greater chance of taking part in trolling or being trolled themselves.
A study shows how children who use Tik Tok are developing tics and having tic-like attacks there experiencing a movement disorder brought on by stress and anxiety, presumably made worse by the pandemic and children's increased social media consumption.
It is hard to know what children are doing online, the dangers they are at risk of being involved in cyber bullying, online predators, sharing too much information, false information and dangerous viral trends. Adults should determine if children are ready, talk openly with children, limit screen time, monitor their usage and model appropriate online behaviour.
It is the responsibility of parents to decide on their children’s use of devices, taking their age and maturity into account, and that screens should be avoided in the hour before bedtime. Some useful questions about your family’s screen time are useful to know are:
How is screen time monitored and controlled?
Does screen use interfere with your family’s needs?
Are you able to control snacking during screen time?
Does screen use interfere with sleep?
As of 2020, 87 percent of children aged
between 12 and 15 used some social media
The social media usage rate among
the youngest respondents of ages three
to four was 18 percent that year.
The hours children spend gaming weekly
in the UK from 2013 to 2019 by age group.
Children in the UK are spending more and more time gaming, both on and offline. The number of hours that children aged between 12 and 15 spent playing games peaked in 2018 at nearly 14 hours.
In 2019 however this dropped to 11.6 hours per week also saw an overall decline in gaming hours per week across the various groups age groups compared to previous years.
Some ideas for passing the time during the summer break
Be on TV
Turn a cardboard box into a TV by cutting a square out of one side and covering it in tin foil. If you don't have a box big enough you could make a cardboard frame. Take turns to get into the TV and put on a show! You could create a more positive version of the news, be a stand-up comedian, or remake your favourite show.
Fancy dress is a brilliant way to get silly and have fun for children and adults! You don't need fancy costumes: use a tea towel as a cape, pull on a pair of tights or put on some rubber gloves. Think about what your superpower is and what you use it for. Older children might enjoy thinking more about their character. They could draw a picture or make a comic about an adventure their hero has.
It's been an anxious time and people of all ages will be feeling the strain. If your child is at a stage where they can understand when they're feeling worried it can be helpful to think about things that help them feel calm. A self soothe box brings together things that ground you and help you feel peaceful. You can help your child to make a special box that they can get out any time they feel worried. Things you could include:
Activities - colouring sheets or a favourite book
Something to touch - a cuddly toy or a fidget spinner
Memories - photos, letters or special mementos
Something smelly - a favourite cream or some perfume on a tissue
Your child can choose a favourite song to listen to when they use their box and decorate the outside to make it feel extra special.