How much technology is too much technology? Studies show most kids now spend around 6 hours a day in front of a screen.
But what would happen if you were asked to go without it?
That’s what happened in the UK recently in a special experiment by kids news show Newsround.
Their reporter Ricky has the story.
GIRL: All my life I’ve either had a TV or a tablet by my side.
BOY: If I didn’t use tech anymore I feel like I’d just sit in the corner and cry and wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
GIRL 2: If I was not allowed to use tech anymore I’d be lifeless.
BOY 2: I’m addicted.
RICKY: I’ve come to this school in Wolverhampton to find out how much time you spend using technology every day outside of school. Each corner of this playground has a time attached to it. This lot are going to run to the corner which they think they spend looking at screens every day.
RICKY: Over 70 per cent of these year 7 pupils spend over 4 hours a day using their tech.
RICKY: These guys love using all their different gadgets, so what would happen if we took that tech away from them? Well, there’s only one way to find out. We’re going to split this class into three different groups today. Now the first group is going to be able to use technology whenever you want over the next three days. The second group will only be allowed to use technology for two hours a day over the next three days. Two hours. The final group won’t be able to use any technology whatsoever for the next three days..
RICKY: It’s only three days.
CERYS: Three days is like a year.
RICKY: OK, let’s start. First one’s up now. Shakiah, how would you feel if you couldn’t use any tech whatsoever?
SHAKIAH: Be boring.
RICKY: You don’t think you could do it? Well, let’s find out what group you’re in. So for 3 days what do you think you’ll do instead?
SHAKIAH: I don’t know, hide in my room or something.
RICKY: Think about the positives maybe you could go out and play.
RICKY: The thought of no tech for three days is unbearable for this bunch. And those restricted to just two hours a day on their devices aren’t taking it any better.
CERYS: I’m going to miss out on like group chats. I just feel left out a lot.
RICKY: The kids facing a restriction on their tech usage may be dreading the next three days. But for some it’s time to celebrate. Alex, you can use tech whenever you want.
ALEX: I feeling happy, cos I get to do what I always do. Just sit there and play my gadgets.
It’s day one of the tech challenge, and Alex has wasted no time getting stuck in with his gadgets.
ALEX: I’ve been playing my tech since I woke up, so about five hours.
Alex is loving having no restrictions on his tech use, but for 12 year old Cerys, who’s limited to spending only two hours on her favourite devices, this is going to be really tough.
CERYS: I reckon I use tech around 8 hours a day. So two hours is just going to be like nothing. It’s been very difficult, all I’ve been doing is reading books, sitting in the living room, being bored.
CERYS’ DAD: She goes to bed, she has to have her gadgets. As soon as she wakes up in the morning, she has to have her gadgets. She tends to throw a little bit of a wobbler if she hasn’t got them.
CERYS: This is very, very true. Yeah.
RICKY: It’s day one of the tech challenge for Shakiah but the only gadget she has on her hands today is the vacuum cleaner. Shakiah is in the no tech group meaning she’s banned from using all her devices for three whole days which is quite a bit different to what she’s used to.
SHAKIAH: I spend at least 7-8 hours on my tech and I’m going to feel quite bored and upset cos now I’m going to have nothing to do.
RICKY: It’s day 2 of the challenge and Cerys is off to work with her dad to help keep her mind off being restricted to just two hours of tech.
CERYS: I miss watching videos, going on social media. I miss it a lot!
RICKY: Meanwhile Shakiah’s also hoping that lending a helping hand to her Gran will help take her mind off spending a second day without any gadgets.
SHAKIAH: Instead of using my technology, today we’re going to be making mutton soup.
SHAKIAH’S GRAN: You’re going to start with the dumpling.
SHAKIAH: It’s more fun mixing dough for dumplings than watching videos.
RICKY: Getting stuck in with her Gran’s soup is having a surprising effect on tech obsessed Shakiah.
ALEX: The plan for today is going to be play for a bit in the morning and then going outside later, and then coming in when it’s dark. And then playing a bit more.
RICKY: It’s the final day of the tech challenge and everyone is heading out for the day, even Alex.
ALEX: We’re going to probably go swimming. It’s the first time we’ve come out since the challenge started
RICKY: Alex is leaving the house and his unlimited tech behind for a couple of hours after a late night spent using his gadgets.
MUM: This morning when I went into Alex’s room it appeared to me that he was fast asleep and the iPad had been left on since last night.
Shakiah would usually be glued to her gadgets but having her tech taken away means she’s got more time to teach her brother few tricks.
SHAKIAH: The challenge has been good because it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would, it’s actually been quite easy.
RICKY: The challenge has come to an end and the limits have been lifted. Have the last three days changed what these guys think about the role tech plays in their lives?
SHAKIAH: I have missed my gadgets, but I haven’t missed them as much as I thought I would.
CERYS: The last few days has not changed the way I use tech, I would always use it in the time I use it, and nothing’s gonna ever change about it.
ALEX: I think I’m gonna play less games because then you get to socialise and you make new friends.
RICKY: So Alex is going to cut down on his tech but what about the rest of the class?
CHERRIE: It surprised me with the challenge because I actually enjoyed it.
BEN: I think people use tech too much because half the time they’re always on it and they don’t really communicate with their family members as much.
BRANDON: It’s actually more fun to play with family and have fun than to spend time on electronics.
GEORGIA: It made me understand that you have to value the things around you even with or without tech.