Two sisters in winter clothes in log den with dog

Spending a lot of time looking at screen can reduce children's ability to make friends and empathise with others, according to a new study published this week.

We all know that getting outside and spending time in the great outdoors is good for our health physically and mental health, yet technology is super addictive and it's easy to get caught inside an endless scroll binge.

This addictive quality of technology is much more powerful for people between the ages of eight and fifteen however, children in this age range are now spending a third of their day in front of a screen, and 20 per cent less time playing outside.

Group of children posing  with mobile devices

The study that published his information, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter, took a group of children away from their screens and into nature for a week, to monitor the effects on behaviour.

By the end of the seven days all children were showing increased signs of facial recognition and empathy towards others.

“Kids do better at a task that drives the quality of their social interactions when they spend more time with other kids in a natural environment than they do when spending a third of their lives glued to glowing screens," Alter explained on The Cut.

Brother and sister walking along a fallen tree in a forest

Technology is so built into our day to day lives now, that it's easy to lose sight of how much time we're actually spending in front of a screen and not another person.

To give our children that best start in love it's important to reinforce the joy of playing outdoors in nature and with each other, away from video games and iPods. Lead by example, put your phone back in your pocket until you really need it, give everyone your full attention in every conversation and spend time every week outdoors, both playing with them and socialising with your own friends.

After all, it's as important for you as it is for them. Start now!