As a brand that celebrates the virtues of outdoor play and adventure for children, we were interested in understanding the pressures against this as technology and screen based play creeps more and more into family life. We undertook a survey to see if screen play was affecting childrens play habits, and had a huge number of interesting, diverse results. Below we've shared some of the top tips from parents on how they manage screen based play with their children.

Some of the results include:

Meal and bed times being kept as screen free zones:

- 67% UK parents always remove screens from table at mealtimes

- 80% UK parents always remove screens at bedtime

While 49% say there is not enough guidance from UK government about managing kids screen time.

See full results and Press Release


1.Setting a good example

- 'Parents are the worst offenders. Parents need to lead by example and put the technology away. I need to discipline myself....and it's hard.'

- 'Difficult to avoid and if well monitored I hope that my son will learn to self-monitor as its an inevitable reality. So many adults struggle with managing their time and we must model responsible behaviour for our children!'

2. Time limits

- 'I find it stops nagging if there is a set limit and time for screens that doesn't change each week. You and the child then know where they stand. You're on to a loser if you link it to behaviour, they just wear you down and everyone gets cross in the meantime!'

- 'When I read the article by Steve Jobs himself saying that children shouldn't be using these devices and they should be outside playing, that confirmed my beliefs so we have very strict screen time policies. 1-2 hours per week and usually at weekends. Now some homework requires the use of computers but thankfully it's minimal.'

- 'We set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off my daughter knows to turn off the tablet right away. Then she can play it again the next day. If she argues or refuses then the tablet is taken away and she cannot play the next day. This has only happened once or twice. She plays the tablet about 4 days per week for a total of an hour or so.'

3. Do it with them

- 'Screen based technology can be a useful addition, but as with most things needs to be carefully controlled. Adults can struggle to get the balance right themselves, so expecting a child to exercise any degree of self-control when immersed in these is unrealistic and unfair! Also what they are accessing on the devices needs to be strictly monitored. Doing it with them works brilliantly as it lets them become the guide/teacher for a change.'

- 'We believe that closely controlled screen use can play a positive part in childhood development. It can develop problem solving skills (where the right "app" is employed) and be a positive part of childhood. But it must be strictly controlled.'

4. Keep the balance

- 'This is an important subject and something we have struggled with. We have a toddler (3 yrs) and a baby, it is incredibly difficult to entertain our toddler and get household chores done, it is often too easy to rely on the TV or a tablet. That said we always ensure that we all get outside once a day. Everything in moderation!'

- For me it's about ensuring my child has a balanced day of activity. We see screen time as a way to relax after a busy day or early morning treat at weekends. It is not a replacement for going out to play or seeing friends. It's also a treat when driving long distance. Other than the screen is mine.

5. Visibility and password protections

- 'Not having Sky TV or access to any channels, screens are my children's only form of "media" access. They are all password protected and tightly monitored. They must be watched in the main living area of the house.'

6. Enhance the outdoor experience

- Although I like your emphasis on playing, my child does a lot more things than play on the computer/iPad. The internet means that my child can investigate absolutely anything he is interested in and learn about it by reading, watching, listening, playing etc etc. We love to play outside and being outside inspires all sorts of lines of enquiry that we investigate in great depth using our computer. Technology augments my child's exploration of 'the great outdoors'.

- 'My 4yo sees screen based technology as a supplement to her whole life. She spends as much time as she likes using it - whether it's a game or watching videos or researching answers to her questions, it gets a lot of use and I never apply restrictions. If I wouldn't prevent her from using an encyclopedia, I wouldn't prevent her access to other media either. She will often take photographs of her finds (flowers, trees, insects) as we are out and about and look them up later to identify them. She uses YouTube to facilitate and inspire creative play and has as a result made some amazing things from play doh and similar as a result.'

7. Screen free days

- 'We have one screen free day a week, usually a Tuesday, which works well for us.'