Harnessing the digital revolution in the home

Welcome to this month’s blog and welcome back to school, college and everything else that starts again in September!

This month we are looking forward to all the good things autumn has in store. As we pack away the memories of a happy summer we have some advice on “Keeping the Glow” into the new season.

In our feature article, Rosemary Roscoe continues her series of insights into the opportunities offered by the digital technologies to our homes. This month Rosemary considers Intergenerational Homes of the Future. The value of grandparents in the continuing care and nurture of the family is becoming more and more widely recognised and we now need to build the homes and support the policies that allow this to flourish.

As the post-summer routine starts again perhaps you could do with some inspiration for activities and recipes to start autumn in style. There are lots of ways to make this month a golden one so see if any of these creative ideas can put a spring (!) in your step this September.

Enjoy all that this “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” brings your way and keep us posted on all your September plans!

Angela

Harnessing the digital revolution in the home

“An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide possess a smartphone, a device virtually unheard of just over 10 years ago. It’s little wonder that digital technology is permeating just about every aspect of our lives – and cellular data revolutionising the home and office, blurring the lines between ‘work time’ and ‘play time’.  Whether limitless access to the internet is a good thing is a matter for debate but one thing is for certain – it’s here to stay.
At the Home Renaissance Foundation’s Experts Meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, Mei-Lin Fung, Co-founder of the People Centre Internet, questioned “whether transparency between our internal and external spaces is disturbing millennia-old notions of the family.” She emphasised the need for the digital home to be “a safe place where we live, play, learn, earn and develop the skills to care about other human beings. It is both a real and virtual space where people make healthy and responsible choices so that we can thrive together.” She emphasised that “we must envisage and define what we as humans want a digital home to mean, in a world where digital technology can be embedded in every aspect of human life.”

Addressing the meeting, eminent psychologist Sonia Livingstone, Professor of Social Psychology, Department of Media and Communications at LSE,  while acknowledging the much-publicised risks posed by social media, cautioned against enforcing a blanket two-hour limit to screen time. She advocated instead that parents sit down with their children and talk about what exactly they are doing on the internet.
While online games are obviously addictive they are not all necessarily bad for children’s development. Apparently, some strategic video games, that aren’t claiming to be educational, can nevertheless help with problem-solving and spatial skills and even improve academic performance. Studies, however, have reported that young people immersed in ‘screens’ for too long are not using face-to-face communication and could be losing important social skills as well as taking time away from schoolwork.

But it’s not just young people who struggle to control their screen time –according to a new report by Common Sense Media, most parents worry that their children are addicted to devices, but about four in 10 teenagers have the same concern about their parents!”

Rosemary Roscoe

Marking the Changing Seasons

By Susan Peatfield

The way life can be these days, rushing from work, to school, to home – sitting on buses, trains and in traffic – it is easy to miss the changing of the seasons.

AutumnTrue, we might notice the rain and the cold, but the real differences that mark the moving forward of the year all too often pass us by. Ask yourself this: when was the last time I really looked at the trees on my way to work or on the school run? When did I last look at the flowers growing – or not – in my garden or in the local park? Do I know which of the vegetables in my supermarket belong to this time of the year?

Autumn is, as the poet says, the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. It is also a time of golden leaves and a rich harvest of good things to eat, drink and enjoy. But, blink and you miss it as we now find ourselves hurtling towards preparations for Christmas. One way to slow down the pace and to take stock of our surroundings is to bring some of the changes outside inside – into our homes.

Perhaps you have a memory as a child of a “Nature Table” at school? Or maybe you remember bringing home horse chestnuts “conkers” and pinecones from walks in the park? If these things gave you pleasure then, it is very likely they still have the power to bring you pleasure now. More than pleasure, in fact, more a real connection with the beauties of the natural world.

Look around your home for a suitable “space”. It might be a shelf, or a small table, or even a ledge by your front door. All it needs to be is where you will SEE it – and it not to get on your nerves! (Not where it will get in the way or get knocked over.)

autumn 2A small piece of fabric or paper in a season-appropriate shade could mark out the space chosen. The display depends on you – what you find and what you like. A typical autumn display might contain: brown, red and gold leaves from a range of trees; acorns, conkers and pinecones; a miniature pumpkin or squash, a small jar of asters-“Michaelmas Daisies” – or chrysanthemums; a bunch of grapes or some rosy apples. In other words, anything that brings the season’s glow into your home – and life.