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Dilemma: My family are smartphone addicts

Jo Brand / 10 April 2018

Jo Brand's take on a reader who wants their family to spend less time on their smartphones and more time enjoying the great outdoors.

A father and son on their smartphones

Dilemma: My family are smartphone addicts

How can I encourage my children and their families to spend less time on their smartphones and more time outdoors?

Jo Brand's advice

If I could tell you the answer to that, it would be the equivalent of knowing the meaning of life!

It’s an issue that causes so much frustration and head-banging among the parental/slightly older/educational fraternity.

I’m presuming you’re talking about your grown-up children and their not-grown-up children. As a grandparent, you don’t have any option really, except asking nicely or begging. You have no authority over your grown-up children, and still less over their children.

You could try persuading them to join you once a week for a ‘nice’ walk in the countryside, but expect eye-rolling, moaning, sore feet and sneaky peeks at phones.

Every generation has its electronic bête noire – yours was probably TV. But once your kids are out of your jurisdiction, that’s it, I’m afraid, and you risk alienating them if you go on about it too much.

I suggest offering palatable alternatives – taking them out for a meal with a no-phone rule – or bribing them.

Other than that, your options are limited. Sorry, there’s no simple answer.

Your advice

"It doesn't really bother me. My only rule is not at the table. I went everywhere with a transistor radio attached to my ear. My kids went everywhere with a Walkman plugged in. Each generation has the latest technology." - Mary, via Facebook

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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