Over Christmas, Caroline and I finally snapped about the amount of time our children were spending on their screens. If they weren’t watching Logan Paul vlogs on YouTube, they were on Snapchat or playing video games. I couldn’t get them to read anything — not even one of the wonderful How to Train Your Dragon books — and attempts to persuade them to go on walks were met with fierce resistance. Towards the end of the holidays they began to look and act like drug addicts — pallid complexions, easily distracted, short-tempered. Perhaps they really were addicts.
Any parent who has tried to limit their child’s screen time will be familiar with the standard objection: ‘But Dad, you’re always on your screen.’ That’s true, but the difference is that I’m on a Kindle reading a book. In the past, I scoffed at bibliophiles who claimed that something was lost when we switched to reading on screens, but I now realise they were right. We’ve lost the ability to set a good example to our children. Kids brought up in houses surrounded by books are supposed to have an advantage over those who aren’t, but it’s hard to see how children benefit if those books are never opened. As far as mine are concerned, Mummy and Daddy are just on screens too. (To read more, click here.)