To understand the true benefits of reducing screen time, you have to hear it through the voices of young people and their parents.
JU:MP (Join Us: Move. Play) has launched a significant new initiative, Screen Off Life On, to support Bradford families to swap screen time for activities off-screen this National Playday (3 August). Screen Off Life On is a public resource, co-created by Bradford families and tailored for children, young people and adults to help Bradford families get up, get out, and get happy!
In recent years, leading authors, educationalists and child-development experts have been calling on the government to introduce national guidelines on the use of screens. The most recent research suggests that the use of screen technology is becoming a more complex challenge for parents, particularly during COVID-19, where as a result of public health measures enforced by governments to curb the pandemic, time on screen has further increased.
Now more than ever, screen time presents barriers to healthy physical activities and opportunities and this is where JU:MP comes in. The JU:MP research team are trailblazing the way forward, with robust insight and behavioural science techniques, to bridge the screen gap for Bradford families and to encourage all children and parents to turn their ‘screen off’ and their ‘life on’.
JU:MP Programme Director, Jan Burkhardt explains how the campaign came about:
“There’s so much written about screen time and the impact this can have on both mental and physical health, and we have concerns, I do as a grandparent, parent and as a key worker in public health. And the official guidelines about screen time and warnings up to this point have been disputed by UK experts. So we knew we needed to dig deeper to look at how we could help families build healthier screen habits in a way that works for them.”
“At the heart of the campaign was the need to speak directly with the Bradford public, to really understand what can help parents, carers, children and young people to feel motivated about swapping some screen time for activities that make them feel good and move more.”
Screen Off Life On features easy to use resources, including a parent guide and family plan, that offer top tips and advice on how to swap some screen time to spend more time doing different activities with family and friends.
One of the parents, Kezra, who took part in the focus groups for the campaign and helped to co-create the supporting resources said: “At first I wanted to go to the focus group to help my children get off their screens. I realised part way through that I’d also joined the focus group because I wanted to understand how I could support myself to get off my screens, as well as my children.
I was over the moon when the team said the campaign would have materials to support parents/carers and grandparents, as well as young people. There’s something for the whole family, to encourage them to turn their ‘screen off’ and their ‘life on’. “
Over 8,000 family members have joined the JU:MP movement, with over 50 Bradford schools and community organisations taking part in the Screen Off Life On campaign, including pupils, parents, teachers and staff members, and volunteers.
Kezra continues: “Knowing that Screen Off Life On has been created together by one of the world’s leading research programmes, and our local Bradford community, gives me a sense of real pride in the campaign and hope in our community. I think it’s also important to remember that all families are different, and this campaign gives simple tools that people can choose to use in a way that works for them. If we all come together to make small changes in our habits, we can go a long way towards a happier and healthier future!”
Jan Burkhardt continues: “What’s really lovely is that the children and parents who complete the Screen Off Life On week journal get the chance to win a Go Kart or £50 worth of Love to Shop vouchers.”
“I really think this campaign is offering an important moment of reflection with the public, allowing us to think about the things we need to do better to support our families to feel good and move more, away from our screens. If anybody would like to come and visit us at the JU:MP office to learn from us and us from them – the door is always open.”
Supporters of the campaign include The Association of Play Industries (API), Living Well, Bradford City F.C. Community Foundation and University of Leeds.
As well as lots of helpful Screen Off Life On tools, visitors can view links to useful websites and resources (including charities and other associations), and get key information on what constitutes one of the most important things in our everyday lives.
Visit joinusmoveplay.org/screenofflifeon to find out more, and fill in the three-week journal to be entered into the JU:MP prize draw for a chance to win a Go Kart or £50 worth of Love to Shop vouchers!
Follow ‘Screen Off Life On’ on social media via #ScreenOffLifeOn