What will your digital holiday season be like this year?
With social distancing rules in place this December, for many families, the holiday season will look very different this year. To understand how Dad of 3 Damion Founde talks about what his family will do to celebrate the use of technology.
The Founde family have relatives scattered across the North East and Yorkshire who were eager to visit at Christmas. Typically, there would be large family gatherings, dinners, and outings during the holiday season.
Celebrating over video calls: What will your digital holiday season be like this year?
This year things look very different. The family will be using FaceTime to chat with family members on Christmas Day, and there are plans to use Zoom for family tests with some of the distant relatives. “FaceTime is the easiest way to catch up with the family, but Chloe (17) uses Zoom a lot with her friends, so we’re going to try that for a family quiz night,” says Damion.
Relaxed digital boundaries: What will your digital holiday season be like this year?
The family will be using a lot of technology and Damion admits that after a difficult few months some of the rules will be relaxed this Christmas. “Kids push boundaries, but after the year we’ve had, I think I’ll be a little more relaxed this Christmas just to give them some normalcy,” Damion says.
Damion has worked in the tech industry for many years and is quite the tech savvy, something he has passed on to his children. “My kids are pretty well informed and even Alfie (4) knows the hits and misses of what he should be doing online,” adds Damion.
That’s not to say Damion isn’t a fan of technology. He describes himself as a “tech advocate” and thinks families should embrace technology. “We can’t deny our kids tech time, whether it’s game consoles, laptops, or phones. It’s Christmas and the kids will want to play with him, probably all day! “
Christmas wish list for kids
However, there will be other exciting toys for children to enjoy that do not involve screens. Lilly (11) and Alfie (4) have ordered LEGO toys this year, as well as new clothes and dinosaur toys. Chloe has ordered a laptop to help with college work, which Damion has already set up and made safe for use online before finishing.
Balancing Screen Time
Managing screen time is a constant challenge for parents, and one that grows every year as more technology becomes available, Damion believes. Like many kids across the country, Damion’s kids will get some tech gifts at Christmas. “It’s great, we can’t live without technology these days, but we need to educate our children about the use of technology and the consequences around safety and well-being,” he says.
This Christmas, Damion and his wife will set rules for managing screen time. With no school to distract them, Damion and his wife don’t want them to get into the habit of staring at the screens too much. Instead, there will be plenty of board games and puzzles for the kids to think about. The family is also planning a lot of interaction with other people, time outside, and offline toys.
Screen time tip for parents
Damion recommends that parents create a structure for Christmas Day where kids have tech time, but also family time that takes them away from those tempting screens. It can be board games, offline toys, or chatting with the family on the table. “The important thing is that we have a duty to take care of making sure that children know that there are other things we can do instead of being in front of a screen,” says Damion.
While this sounds serious enough, Damion says the number one priority for the Founde family this Christmas is simple: have fun. “After a terrible year, we all deserve to have fun and have a great end of the year.”