It doesn’t all have to be analog! Qustodio’s UK Country Manager and resident Digital Wellbeing Expert Georgie gives us her top picks to help your loved ones make the most of their time and technology this Christmas.
As a mum of two little girls, I understand very well how busy the Christmas period can feel. And then there’s the pressure of finding meaningful presents for loved ones. As more of us become aware of the environmental impact of the gifts we buy, now is also a good time to consider gifts which help to foster healthy relationships with technology too. To make life easier for many of you out there, here’s my list of top ‘digital wellbeing’ gifts for Christmas:
• If sweeter dreams are on your 2020 wishlist, look no further than BAGBY who make cute sleeping bags for your phone that come with a compact and stylish alarm clock. 99% of people surveyed by Bagby said they used their phone as alarm clocks. Keep the online world out of the bedroom this Christmas by using an alarm clock and charging your phone in a different room.
• If it’s device management you’re after, another low-tech but highly effective solution is an unplugged box to pop the whole family’s devices in. Keep it in a communal space but away from family activities. This adorable wooden version from Cades and Birch can be personalized, and it’s lockable! No more distracted dinner times, study sessions or family game nights!
• Find a gorgeous kitchen timer. Cooking is a great way to reconnect with yourself, or with family, but we often use our phones as timers and get distracted by messages or social media along the way. Switch off and stay focused by using a simple kitchen timer instead, like these bright and cheerful ones from Lakeland.
• Get two gifts for the price of one with an inspiring book filled with things to do offline! We love 101 Things to Do Instead of Playing on Your Phone. For creative kids, Keri Smith’s classic Wreck this Journal makes a great stocking filler.
• If you’re not already holding regular family game nights, make 2020 the year that you do. A classic from your childhood is sure to go down well, and you can share some favorite childhood stories too! Our current favorites are Dobble, Ticket to Ride and (for a giggle) Jaws.
• Feel like reaching for your phone has become a nervous tick? For parents who need to practice being present, how about a Moment Pebble? It lets you take 30 second micro moments of mindfulness – any time, anywhere. It will look great on your desk too!
• And if it’s mindfulness you’re after, why not treat someone you love to a beautiful journal. We love the collection from Kikki K – affordable, beautiful places to reflect on brain wanderings and inspire positivity. They say the key to happiness is to buy experiences and not things, so why not try a voucher for a local yoga, pilates or meditation class, or for something grander, Tinggly offer a range of amazing gift experience boxes, in countries all over the world.
• For the ultimate digital wellbeing gift, Go Light. We think tethered ‘dumb’ phones that link to your smartphone will be the next big thing in 2020 and beyond. If you’re heading out for a New Years’ Day walk, to the theater, or just popping round to grandma’s, do you really need your smartphone? To stay contactable but with none of the distractions take a tethered dumb phone. Our favorite is The Light Phone (now with basic maps), but also look at Mudita, which is 100% sustainable and available for pre-order.
If you do decide to buy technology gifts for children this year, by all means, go ahead, but take some time first to think carefully about both the positives and the negatives they can bring. This helpful gift guide from the Australian e-safety commissioner is a useful starting point to help you get informed.
And last but not least, remember this holiday that the most precious gift you can give is your attention. Give yourself a break, put your feet up and watch the magic and mayhem unfold around you.