With a background in mental health, I’d read all about the dangers of too much screen time for children and vowed that my kids wouldn’t be on devices and wouldn’t be introduced to television at a young age. Then I actually had children and a lot of my best intentions flew out of the window. Screens are everywhere and whilst there are so many benefits to children using technology, we as parents need to be aware of achieving balance and setting limits.
We’d been pretty good at limits and having no television on during the week….then the pandemic hit. Like so many other parents, we found that screens could be our saviour during the long lockdown days and suddenly it was the main way to connect with family and friends.
Farzana Osman, a mum of three living in Botswana, had a similar experience during Covid. This led her to write a fun story addressing the need for balance and limits in screen time. We had a chat with her on the launch of her first children’s book.
What Inspired You To Write The Children’s Book?
I’m a bedtime story mum. I’ve always enjoyed reading picture books to my children from a young age. I started noticing various writing styles and the type of books that appealed to my children. Content that was relevant to them always peaked their interests. So I decided to write a children’s picture book based on what is relevant to the techno-savvy kids of today.
The digital world has taken preference with children as a means of entertainment, even prior to the appearance of Covid. Screen time was becoming more prevalent in my household on a daily basis and controlling the use of devices became more difficult as they became the norm with homework projects and research.
When Covid hit full force, all homework needed to be done via devices for safety reasons. Suddenly, keeping the iPad locked away till the weekend became impossible and gradually homework time easily went on to leisure use with easier access.
I think many parents can relate to this and this is how the inspiration to write “The Runaway iPad ” came about, as it teaches a lighthearted moral about screen time and manners. And how although devices are great for a child’s educational development, it needs to be balanced.
What Are Your Thoughts On Screen Time For Children?
I’m all for advancing forward with technology. I do believe children get a lot of educational benefits with the amazing apps out there.
However, curiosity with kids is natural and there are many uncensored games and videos that send out wrong messages. These trigger screen time addiction, and the negative effects of glare on those eyes that are glued on the screen for hours.
Balance is the key, homework during the week, and structured time on weekends.
What’s Your Relationship With Technology? Is It Different From Your Children’s?
I find it mentally exhausting to continuously be glued to a screen. Truthfully, I am a scroller on Instagram, and yes it can be beneficial, but I don’t do it for long. I try my best to instil the balance into my children but their relationship with technology is friendlier than mine!
Where Can People Buy The Runaway iPad Children’s Book?
Books are currently in print and will be arriving soon. Get in touch with me for a copy at 72698324 or follow my account on Instagram @little.readers.nook for more information. I’ll be doing private sales for a while. I’m currently running an awesome giveaway as part of my book promotion. Entry is super easy, give it a go!
The Honeycomb Hub will also be stockists of the book in Gaborone, they have a cute bookstore located in Phakalane with some wonderful books on offer. So far 2 online bookstores, @bookbugs_za and @wonderbooks_za both found on Instagram will be stocking the book in South Africa.
Any Last Words?
It can be really difficult to limit the use of phones, tablets and television in our busy, digital age. We all have different lifestyles, priorities and views on screen time so you have to find out what works for your family. Celebrate even small steps in the right direction.
As a first step to reducing screen time, you can buy this book and read it with your children!
Congratulations Farzana on turning what would’ve remained a negative side effect of a pandemic into something good, and adding to Botswana’s fascinating local stories.