Don’t crack like Kirstie Allsop on kid tech, here our child psychologist tells how to stay in control

KIRSTIE Allsopp admitted she smashed her children’s iPads when they played games outside their permitted time.

Other parents will feel the presenter’s frustrations, though destroying tech isn’t our preferred way forward.

Getty – Contributor

Kirstie Allsopp with sons Bay Atlas Andersen and Oscar Hercules Andersen in 2015[/caption]

Kirstie, pictured with her sons, is not the first mum to pull their hair out over what the kids are up to when plugged in.

Claire Dunwell looks at how youngsters spend time online and asks child psychologist Emma Citron for tips on how parents can stay in control.


KIDS as young as nine are on social media and half of those aged 11 and 12 have accounts with the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Emma says: “Youngsters love social media and it can develop their interaction skills if used in the right way. It’s their world and there’s no getting away from it. As parents, it’s about setting limits.

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Youngsters love social media and it can develop their interaction skills if used in the right way[/caption]

“Be clear about which social media you are happy for your child to use and from what age.

“It’s fine to say, ‘I’m not letting you have a Facebook account until you’re 13,’ because that’s the minimum age limit. Let your 11-year-old use WhatsApp because cutting young people off social media is a big mistake. They run the risk of being singled out.

“Keep talking to your kids if they are on social media to find out who they are chatting to.
“If they tell you to go away, then keep trying.”


FROM helping with spellings to mastering times tables and obscure geography, it is almost guaranteed there is an app available for kids of all ages and many schools rely on them to aid learning.

Emma says: “Every parent wishes their child was on educational apps.


Children enjoy learning and progressing so take time to sit down and go through the different apps with them[/caption]

“There are hundreds to choose from and children often use these apps because parents have instilled a positive attitude to learning at home.

“You’ve taken them to the free museums and made them interested in life around them.

“Children enjoy learning and progressing so take time to sit down and go through the different apps with them.

“All learning should be encouraged and in the age of technology, learning doesn’t have to stop at the end of the school day.”


IF your pre-teen is not playing Fortnite or Minecraft, chances are they have a friend who is. Setting limits is key. Emma says: “Children are drawn to gaming because it’s quick, fast moving and competitive.

“It’s fantasy and lets children do things they can’t do in real life, which draws them in. Whether it’s buying a new skin for an avatar or improving scores, gaming is addictive.


If your pre-teen is not playing Minecraft, chances are they have a friend who is[/caption]

“Make playing on the XBox a social pastime. Invite friends over to join in which is hugely beneficial to development. Set time limits in advance.

“Watching videos of gamers on YouTube doesn’t zap energy in the same way intensive gaming does. It’s the same as watching a very good sports player and children can pick up tips to improve their game.

“If your child is watching the same YouTuber over and over though, it’s time to get them outside.”

Watching YouTube

WHILE it might sound mind-blowingly boring to adults, our kids love watching their peers on YouTube playing with Play-Doh or unboxing their latest toy.

Emma says: “Children are curious, which is why they want to watch these types of videos. They can relate to them because it is an everyday occurrence. We would all love a one-way screen into our neighbour’s home to see what goes on and it’s the same with children.They want to see and learn how other children play with their toys.


Children are curious, which is why they want to watch videos on YouTube[/caption]

“They are taking enjoyment from watching another child playing with a toy they might not be allowed to buy.

“It isn’t a bad thing but like all technology, it’s about making sure it doesn’t become addictive and that they also spend time playing.”

Creating on YouTube

SETTING up a YouTube account is quick and easy, which means pre-teens can have their own channel up and running in minutes.

They love making and sharing videos of themselves and racking up new followers.


Making and sharing videos is youngsters’ way of getting themselves noticed[/caption]

Emma says: “Everyone wants to be famous for a day and feel good. Youngsters want the attention. Making and sharing videos is their way of getting themselves noticed. What pre-teens don’t understand is that sharing videos publicly is likely to bring embarrassment and humiliation, often from older kids.

“Under-12s are too young to handle the consequences.

“Don’t get cross if your pre-teen has posted a video without permission. Explain why you feel they’re too young and offer to make a video with them.”


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