Julia Bradbury has revealed the important steps she is taking to protect her children's mental health. The 48-year-old, who shares son Zephyrus and twin daughters Xanthe and Zena with her husband Gerard Cunningham, has confessed that she finds it "tough to navigate as a parent in modern days" thanks to the popularity of social media. But one thing she swears by to promote a happy mind is making sure her children spend more time outdoors than they do inside staring at screens.
VIDEO: Julia opens up about her mental health
"These days, it is a real juggle as a parent, trying to get the balance right between how much time your kids spend outside, how much your kids spend on their homework and how much time they spend on the digital screens," the ex-Countryfile presenter told HELLO!. "So you have got to lead by example – I try not to have a conversation with my kids while the phone is in my hand, or while looking at my phone, because that is what you don’t want them to do with you. We limit screen time, I mean we are very lucky, we live in London but have access to a fantastic garden and they are out there as much as possible. Sometimes they will ask me, ‘mummy can I play the airplane game or whatever’ and I am like ‘no, out into the garden, you can have an hour in the garden and then you can have five minutes watching whatever it is you want."
There's nothing quite like the great outdoors
But while Julia's children are "still quite little" and not very interested in social media yet, she admits she is not looking forward to the day it becomes a part of their lives "because it is a tough, tough road to navigate as a parent in modern days". She added: "I have spoken to a psychologist about this and he said that our children are, he described it as 'they are the canaries down the mines'. The impact that social media and digital time has on young children and their minds. We are all just learning about it now, but we know that cyber bullying is up, we know that children are self-harming. We know that social media can have a devastating impact on children.
Julia is a big advocate for spening more time outdoors
"We have had several high profile cases, where we have seen children sadly take their own lives because of cyber bullying and pressure from this social media source that is just horrible. When we were at school, I mean, I was bullied at school, but I could go home and escape. But children these days don’t have an escape, because most of them have phones, and unless you monitor that time and unless you talk to them about what they are experiencing, what they are doing on their phones, who they are communicating with, then you don’t know and it's something that is with them for 24 hours a day."
We caught up with Julia while she was spending 24 hours staying in a luxury caravan sailing down the Thames on a barge, from The O2 to the Houses of Parliament. She then moored up overnight by Tower Bridge to celebrate 100 years of caravanning, hosted by The Camping and Caravan Club.
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