Swim England and nine partners bid to reconnect families through swapping screens for swimming in Love Swimming initiative.
The swimming industry has launched a campaign to inspire the country to Love Swimming by getting families off their screens and into the pool.
In the digital age, children are spending a great deal of time on their screens and, at a time when we are never more connected to the world via the internet, families have revealed they have never felt more disconnected within the family unit.
With the release of an impactful film featuring a real family, the Roberts, and illustrating ’Because their console doesn’t work underwater’, Swim England and nine partners from the swimming sector are driving home the message that real-world connection has significant advantages over digital immersion, with the pool providing a complete escape from the digital world – one of the few places where families cannot take a console compared to other family activities.
The swimming industry is encouraging people across the country to get off their screens and back into family fun by putting aside technology once a week and instead visiting their local pool to enjoy spending time together, being active and reconnecting in the real world.
In a 2017 OnePoll survey, almost 9 in 10 people agreed gadgets get in the way of spending quality family time together, with families only spending 36 minutes together on an average weekday.
Seven out of 10 parents even recognised there are times when they could be spending time with their children, but are busy playing on their phone or tablet instead.
Ofcom’s 2017 Annual Report announced the internet has overtaken television as the top media pastime for British children, who are now spending 15 hours a week online, while the Children’s Commissioner is encouraging parents to give children time to switch off and get moving.
Love Swimming is aimed at the one-third of people for whom, according to Ofcom, there is ’general acceptance’ of families sitting in the same room but all on different screens and gadgets to watch a TV show, catch up on social media or play a game.
Jane Nickerson, CEO of Swim England and Swim Group Chair, said: “Families are spending less time together in this day and age. When they are together, they are often watching TV or gadgets individually rather than being active.
“Through our new Love Swimming campaign, we are encouraging every family to put down their screens and dedicate a window every week to going down to their local swimming pool to spend quality time together, having fun and being active.
“We’re calling on mums, dads, children and grandparents to find their nearest pool and rediscover the enjoyment of interacting and reconnecting as a family.”
Geoff Roberts, father of Ethyn (aged 8) and Isla (aged 5) who appear in the Love Swimming film, said: “As a dad, this has really opened my eyes to how much we use our screens when we are together as a family. The constant ‘put the console down’ was just a normal day in our household. Getting the chance to spend a few hours every week together at the pool has not only meant we are more active as a family, but we have the opportunity to spend more quality time together and most importantly have fun! It’s been very rewarding to see the effects connecting us more as a family unit, not just at our local pool but back at home as well.”
Whether it’s the kids playing on their console, Dad in front of the TV and Mum online, now more than ever families say they want to spend more time disconnected from their screens and reconnected as a family. Dedicating a window every week to swimming together creates a precious opportunity to do just that, according to Swim England and the Love Swimming partners.
Customers can visit the Swim England pool finder tool at www.swimming.org/loveswimming and find out more information about their nearest pool and how they can easily swap screen time for swim time.