New research has revealed that one in four (23%) of parents in Northern Ireland have swapped books for tech at bedtime, using home assistants, apps, Facetime and voice notes to give their little one a story at night. The study commissioned by the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, BookTrust, reveals a growing reliance on digital storytelling and tech, which the charity warns risks children missing out on the proven benefits of bedtime stories.
Figures show that while over half of NI parents (58%) aim to share a story with their child every night, just over a quarter (27%) manage to do so. A quarter (23%) say work or commuting stops them getting home in time, while 15 per cent simply feel “too busy”. The poll suggests that tech is picking up the slack, as 62 per cent of parents admit to giving their kids time on a smartphone, tablet, YouTube or in front of the TV, instead of sharing a bedtime story.
In response, BookTrust and bestselling children’s author of the Horrid Henry series, Francesca Simon, are calling on parents to rediscover the joy of the bedtime story on Friday June 7 by celebrating Pyjamarama, a nationwide fundraising campaign. Francesca comments: “I’m supporting BookTrust’s Pyjamarama campaign because I’m hoping that families will ditch the tech, pay £1 to put on their PJs and help raise money so that BookTrust can reach families everywhere with books and support to ensure that no child is missing out on the life changing benefits and joys of reading for pleasure.”Sign up for a fundraising pack at booktrust.org.uk/pyjamarama.