Kirstie Allsopp has revealed she smashed her children’s iPads when they broke rules around screen-time, much to the shock of other parents.
The TV presenter appeared on ‘Jermey Vine On 5’ when she revealed her children repeatedly used the devices outside of their agreed “tablet hours”, so she took drastic action and smashed the iPads on a table leg in front of them.
“All of those rules got broken and in the end I said ‘right, that’s it’,” she recalled.
But other parents and a behavioural psychologist have warned the mum’s behaviour could set a bad example to her children, with many citing less drastic (and less permanent) ways to handle children’s screen use.
Mum-of-one Hanna Imaan, from Birmingham, was surprised to hear of Allsopp’s tactic. When enforcing screen-time rules for her six-year-old son, Muhammed, she establishes a balance between leisure and educational use, making sure both are on his radar.
“I usually give my son a time limit, say around an hour,” she told HuffPost UK. “The weekend is also a little more relaxed, however, my son knows that once I ask him to switch off that’s what I mean. I wouldn’t smash the iPad though, I paid for it for one, and two that’s what I’m teaching my child to do.”
On Twitter, others have also questioned the presenter’s parenting tactics.
Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings said Allsopp’s behaviour could be setting a bad example to her children by “advocating all sorts of appalling messages”.
“Letting her temper get the better of her by wilfully destroying expensive items is one set of poor messages. Showing a complete lack of control is another,” she told HuffPost UK. “She will certainly have shocked them – and by destroying their iPads, prevented them from using them again, and so keeping to her rules, but they also will feel fearful of her temper now and not in a good way.”
Instead, Hemmings recommends enforcing strict rules around screen use, such as designated screen-free time.
“Making children understand exactly what those rules are, is a start – maybe even writing them on a chart and putting it up on the fridge, so they can see exactly that it’s no screen time before school, until homework is done, until they’ve had breakfast – whatever the rules are,” she said.
“Ideally, rules should be agreed with the children so that they feel they have had some input, which is more likely to make them stick to it. If rules get flouted, either put the iPads in a locked drawer or place them somewhere where they can’t have them for a while, or perhaps deactivate them until they agree to stick by the rules. Almost anything is pretty much better than Kirstie Allsopp’s behaviour.”