Seven-year-old Oliver has never watched television at home or spent hours on an iPad playing Minecraft. His family live technology-free.
Dad, Lloyd Godson, said it was not something he and his wife planned.
“It is something that happened naturally while we were living in a small village in Greece and had no television. So, when we had kids we just continued living that way,” Lloyd said.
He said they have never set out to ban Oliver from iPads, but have just never turned to one as a quick fix. He believes Oliver’s natural creativity and curiosity has meant they have never needed to resort to screens to occupy his time.
“His curiosity and love for learning has come from having to create things from what he has around him. He does see friends with televisions and iPads but it doesn’t change his perspective. He sees it more as a distraction,” he said.
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The family enjoy spending time together and coming up with their own fun, often sitting around the fire at night playing cards.
Lloyd said Oliver does use computers at school, and added never having used them at home has not hindered his competence.
As a high school teacher of year nine and 10 children, Lloyd sees first-hand the impact screens have.
“It is really quite depressing. The fatigue. The kids are exhausted from having been up until 10 at night. They are half asleep in class and texting on the phone during lessons. I feel really sad by it,” Lloyd said.
He believes a lot of the love of nature is being lost to the virtual world and there is desperate need to bring back a free-range childhood to communities.
Lloyd said the key is for parents to lead by example.
“Kids want parent’s attention, but they have their heads down on the screen. Pull away from the screen and give them your undivided attention.
“I am not perfect at it, but you can see how much calmer the kids are when they don’t have to fight for your attention,” Lloyd explained.