X-Boxes and Screens

There is growing concern in academia and the media about the negative impact pro-longed screen time can have on children and young people. Yet there is a flip-side in that screen-time and digital technology is beneficial to children as well- they can learn to programme, research information for homework or projects, gain new skills etc. The question therefore often arises whether children in OSC should have access to digital media and screen-based activities? We would suggest that there is not a simple yes or no answer- digital and screen-based technology is a factor of modern life, and will only increase in the future, so it cannot be dismissed as something which children should not participate in.

In thinking about this question, we would suggest services should consider the amount of time children might spend on the activity, what the activity's purpose is and whether this is something that they will spend time doing when they are at home or elsewhere. For socially or economically disadvantaged children an OSC might provide them with opportunities to access these activities that they might not otherwise have. On the other hand, children might spend hours at home on these activities, so an OSC might want to limit children's access to these activities but provide them with something else. It goes back to the question about how do OSC services support children's wellbeing, learning and development? What new and additional experiences can OSC provide for children and young people?

If services choose not to allow digital and screen experiences- what other activities are being put in place to engage and develop children in their care?

last updated: 07/07/2023