MARINA FOGLE is restricting internet access at home
Forget Dry January – try Dry-fi January! Mother-of-two MARINA FOGLE says she is restricting internet access in her home to the working day
On the last day of 2017 I found myself lying in a hammock on a beach in the Bahamas, squished between my family. As Ben and I tried to contain our two wriggling children, we started talking about what we could do to make the coming year better.
My wish was for better table manners. Eating with a knife and fork seems to be beyond my children’s grasp. Ben wanted them to adopt a more adventurous attitude when it came to trying new foods.
And then it was the children’s turn.
Marina Fogle (pictured), 39, is the wife of author and broadcaster Ben Fogle, 44, who shot to fame in the BBC reality show Castaway 2000
‘I think it’s unfair that you get to spend as much time on your phone as you want,’ piped up Iona. ‘I think we should be allowed to do the same.’
Ludo nodded in fierce agreement.
I tried to argue that I relied on my phone to answer emails as part of my job as a writer and broadcaster.
Marina and Ben attend the Cartier Queen’s Cup Polo Day 2013 at the Guards Polo Club in Egham, England
But this was an argument I wasn’t sure I was going to win.
I’ve done my best to discourage my children from discovering the joys of 21st Century tech: they have never played a computer game and don’t have regular access to an iPad. And this year, instead of Dry January, we have committed to Dry-fi January, where we restrict wi-fi access in our home to the working day.
What children crave most is not digital devices; it’s the attention of their parents. And it’s our phones that are stealing that attention away.
So after 6pm Ben and I have been leaving our phones in a basket in our hall so they can’t distract us. I might well miss a tweet or Facebook post.
But what I’ll be getting back is irreplaceable time snuggled up with the ones I love the most.
I hope I’ll also be showing my children it’s this – and not some tiny lump of metal and glass – that is the most important thing in life.
Marina’s column will appear monthly. Her podcast, The Parent Hood, is available to download for free.