Sevenoaks mums launch digital challenge to get kids off social media

Two mums from Sevenoaks have launched a digital challenge to encourage children to switch off their phones - and do something more interesting.

And the pair hope their idea for their digital detox just before bed will be adopted nationwide helping to tackle the current mental  health epidemic sweeping  the young.

Mums Anna Firth, 51, and Linden Kemkaran, 48, say they want all primary schools  to teach Year 6 children to put down their devices an hour before bed and do so at a set time so there is no social pressure to continue.

The couple, who both have teenage children, will bring their idea to the attention to the government's safeguarding minister,  Victoria Atkins when they meet her at Kent Police headquarters in Maidstone on Wednesday (February 13).

In the meantime they are urging parents and pupils to take part in a "digital sunset" switching off for seven days from 7 am until 7pm and taking up family based activities like board games, arts and crafts or cooking.

Freelance journalist and mother-of-two, Mrs Kemkaran said: "We were worried about our own children spending so much time online - and my own children's phones would be downstairs in draws at bedtime but I could hear them pinging and ringing until late at night.

"After forming a focus group we realised everybody was worried about it but nobody knew what to do. Parents were worried because their children were worried about missing out socially and the on-line conversation never stops - our children are addicted and it is as addictive as cocaine.

"But if everybody puts down there phone at the same time each night then it would be much easier and there would be no fear of missing out."

Mrs Kemkaran said children need to be taught to employ good habits before moving on to secondary school.

"We started being worried about this in 2016 and this is our second digital sunset challenge  but initially our message was falling on deaf ears. Now people are beginning to wake up to the fact children are not getting enough sleep, it is making them anxious and depressed and they are being cyber bullied and sexually expoited."

Chief executive, Jill Roberts said: "From our work in schools we know that controlling social media and knowing when to switch off is a massive issue. Fun based challenges like this that involve the whole family are a brilliant way of raising awareness of the benefits of taking a break."

Mrs Kemkaran and Mrs Firth now hope they can persuade ministers to adopt the challenge as part of schools PHSE curriculum.…