Jamie Beaglehole lives in Leicester with his fiancé Tom, and their two adopted boys, Lyall and Richard, aged 9 and 8. Jamie is a blogger, while Tom works as a director for a major technology firm.
Using technology to enhance their children’s skills and connection to the world, Dads share how they encourage their boys to use a range of smart tech to develop new skills and enrich their family time.
With two Dads working in technology, it’s hardly surprising that this family loves their gadgets!
Alongside phones and laptops, Jamie’s boys have access to lights and music controlled by Google Home, two games consoles, and several STEM electronics kits, that allow the boys to build their own gadgets. “Our favourite is an app-controlled car kit called Sam’s Curious Cars!” says Jamie.
Both boys are taught that technology is a privilege that can be removed if their behaviour is poor. “We do have conditions around their phones and PS4, which are locked down with family settings and only a handful of contacts on Whatsapp or Hangouts,” says Jamie. “The PS4 is generally restricted to weekend use with games suitable for 12 years and under. Although we might have the occasional more grown-up game that they can play with sound-off and adult supervision.”
This Christmas the boys will be treated to electronic circuit science toys. “It’s something we’ve been eagerly waiting to introduce the boys to for many years,” says Jamie. “They’re also receiving new games for the PS4, and I’m hoping for a new, high-end Bluetooth speaker.”
Technology is a great way to enrich the family’s time together. “Our favourite family game is playing ‘guess the song’ where we use Spotify and Tom’s noise-cancelling headphones,” explains Jamie. “The boys take turns to sing along to music they’ve never heard before, and the other half of the family must guess the song. It’s hilarious and I’m sure we may have invented a top-seller!”
The whole family also love to play Playlink games on the PS4. The family’s favourite is Knowledge is Power Decades, which lets the Dads and boys compete against each other using their own devices, hooked up to the PS4.
Although the family are huge tech-fans, there’s plenty of time for non-tech fun. Both Lyall and Richard love books, crafts and playing outside. “So long as there’s a balance, we’re happy for them to play with new tech over Christmas,” says Jamie. “The PS4 is connected to the main family TV, so they only have a limited amount of time to play before something we all want to watch comes on.”
Jamie believes that having access to technology has some powerful benefits for both boys. “They can send messages to family members via Whatsapp, and they’re learning about coding and electronics via their kits. Even playing a video game teaches them about competing and co-operating nicely together. Not to mention that it gives Tom and I some quiet time to ourselves.”
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