Do you battle to keep your children off their mobile phones and other digital devices?
A Fulham entrepreneur has found the answer – let them decide when to stop staring at a screen.
Amanda Bucknall, of Langthorne Street, Fulham, came up with Time Tokens to help parents do just that.
She said the concept sounds counterintuitive but it works. In fact, the tokens work so well she has managed to turn her idea into a successful business run by her and parents at her children’s school, All Saints in Fulham.
“When I struggled to keep on top of my son Harry’s screen-time it worried me,” she said.
“I saw dramatic changes in his behaviour after too much iPad time, the hoody would go up, rows would ensue, it worried me.
“The battles were exhausting and so disruptive I searched online to see if there was a product we could use. Failing to find any physical product, solution or information, we put our heads together and created TimeTokens.”
Put children ‘in charge’
Amanda, who has two sons, Harry, aged 10, and Wilfred, five, founded Time Tokens in 2016.
Parents can buy a wallet of tokens worth either five, ten, 15, 30 or 60 minutes which they can give to the children to be exchanged for screen time. It’s aimed at children aged five to nine and it’s up to the parents how many tokens children get every week.
There is a promise contract in the pack which adds a bit more weight to the deal, plus a golden ticket they can cash in for a treat if they stick to the arrangement.
The rest of the pack contains inspiration where a group of colourful characters, called the Frazzles, help suggest different things to do when not staring at a screen.
“Trying to limit screen time is something I think every family finds difficult,” said Amanda.
“But this works because the children feel like they’re in charge.”
Amanda has been praised by experts in education and children’s mental health, as well as parents who have left testimonials on her website.
She has also written to the Commons Select Committee Impact of social media and screen use on young people’s health inquiry about her own experience and how Time Tokens helped.
“Running a business which helps families balance screen-time, I have learnt a great deal,” she said.
“Personally I think, if we are to help teenagers learn to control their social media, we have to start by giving them the skills they need at an early age.”
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