Too Cheap to Succeed ?

This is going to sound like a whinge of a post but I assure you it is not, it is, rather, a warning to anybody starting or attempting to start a blog as a way of making money spurred on by the many articles on the internet (usually other blogs like this one) claiming that it is a good way to turn spare time into a passive income, as I move further forward in this journey to what I am still convinced is achievable, the realities of this are becoming more and more obvious, and it isn’t rosy I can tell you.

I started this blog and all my activities at the start of this year, I have had many distractions and issues along the way but essentially the outcome is completely my own doing, I was too cheap with both time and money and spent too much time trying to find a way to post more and more content cheaply believing that quantity would alone see me through to a success, when in fact the opposite is true, we have all seen the constant posters re-cycling the same blog posts a few days or at most a week apart hoping that nobody would notice or that at least the views would attract more readers and hits and ad revenue, I wonder sometimes how successful they really are, now I can almost hear the cries of “but I do not do this for the money simply for the art” or the expression or to educate, in fact any lofty ethical reason they can hide behind shielding themselves from the fact that it really hasn’t made any money or even shows a glimmer of hope of doing so, preferring instead to keep hoping for that one article that goes viral or that captures enough people that they will do the advertising for them by sharing the post and exponentially increasing the reader numbers.

Anybody that wants to make money will add advertising to their site in one form or another, either through the annoying ads in the sidebar that you seed displayed all over this site (lol) or through their own affiliate links or simply through the promise of exclusive content for the exchange of a mailing with a Paypal donation link, it is all advertising as it is designed to illicit money from the reader, when people actually want to convey a message or provide a service (in whatever form that takes) to the general public completely free of charge and simply to educate and help they do not advertise as there is no need to add a distraction, they do not include garish advertisements for the reader to click on as this would detract from the message they are trying to impart.

But putting the advertising on the site is far from enough, in fact it is not even enough to be counted as the beginning, the beginning is the idea it is the focus of the blog, people will spend money this is not a surprising fact and with the reach of the internet there are a lot of people that can spend a lot of money with you and make you very rich but they aren’t going to give it away, you and your corner of the internet are not a charity (unless you are of course) and you cannot expect money for nothing.

Real Money

I am so fond of the phrase “Real Money” that sometimes it even gets under my skin, I say it nearly everyday in nearly every conversation that I have about money and for the sake of repetition I will say it again here, there is money and there is MONEY and to be honest very rarely shall the twain ever meet, what I mean is that when we say somebody has money we are invariably saying this in response to the visible assets that a person has, their car, house, clothes and to a greater or lesser extent their leisure activities, we evaluate based on a surface reflection of a snapshot of their life, and when they have a nice car and a big house and we wave them off on the next international adventure or follow their Instagram posts with green eyed envy we see what we want to see, success and money, but it is at night when these people are alone that the real story is told, you see money has a way of taking control of thoughts and feelings, it squeezes out loved ones and relationships and ultimately it chokes the life out of us and we find ourselves drowning in a sea of debt that there is no escape from, at night when the car is parked outside the house or the holiday activities are over and the rest of the family are asleep is where the dread of the next credit card bill comes in, the feeling of that slow march toward retirement with no savings starts to suggest that it is time you stopped spending all this money on interest payments to credit providers and started trying to master money, after all people do it and you are no different right? having money actual money under control and working for you as opposed to the other way round is all of the above without the feeling of dread and fear creeping in at night, it is the handing over of the debit card instead of the credit card for holidays and luxury goods, it is the sitting down and studying your money at the end of the month with a smile and a coffee just to see how things are going and how much you can invest this month rather than sitting down with a Gin and a Valium and hoping there is enough to stop you having to borrow more just to prop up the nice car and house, it is the enjoyed kiss from a partner at night and whatever may follow as opposed to the awkward good night and rolling over with both of you wondering what you have done to upset the other, it is the tolerance with children as they learn and grow breaking things and making mistakes along the way, as opposed to freaking out and going way over the top at every pen mark we find on the couch that costs us £150 a month is finance payments, money has the ability to help us grow and provide a life for future generations long after we have gone or it has the power to pull a family apart and destroy the future for generations, remember ultimately we become the product of our parents, If you think about a lot of your habits and personality traits now you will realise that most if not all stem from learned behaviour in our childhoods.

Other Peoples Blogs

Firstly a word about mine, I have been doing it for around a year now and am coming up to nearly my 100th post, the maths itself does not add up to a whole load of commitment does it ? so far it is earned me the princely sum of $0.38c, I am not going to retire on this and I do not expect it to grow much more without some kind of catalysing event, but I do have faith, I have faith in numbers and the numbers on the internet are huge, it is true that with the internet age ANYBODY can make a million, but it is also true that very few ever will.

So I did a simple Google search for successful WordPress blogs, and found a fantastic site here that has an almost unique field within their table of success EXPENSES seriously take a look, the information on here is worthy of just being posted out as a link rather than just as a part of this longer article which I am not sure anybody will have made it down to this point anyhow, and this is literally the reason why my blog sucks ass and (although I cannot speak for anybody else) the reason why a lot of people struggle month after month make no money and give up, the sites listed here make enough money for the people to do it as a job, sit at home or wherever they choose, write and then let the Internet take the strain, and the magic ingredient is EXPENSES, they are all spending money to make money, an example is Pat Flynn, 8 years he has been at it and his reported income for December 2017 ? $167,553.31, his expenses for this month $39.647.21 and his profit (before the dreaded Taxman obviously) an amazing $127.906.10 and when you see the website it is obvious why, the attention to presentation, the fact that his courses are available in both video and written on the blog, this probably means that he has a reasonable income from YouTube as well, They are all on there, Cookery Blogs, Entrepreneur blogs and of course Affiliate Marketing Blogs, and here I am with my 38c, I do not even have a business plan subscription and due to lack of activity my Amazon Affiliates account is suspended, this is because I failed to invest in my own project and my own future.

How to Invest ?

Investing comes on many forms, and most of these we are unwilling to do, we have to spend time researching content, or trying new things out so we can report our findings in a manner that provides value to others, as something of no value has no value and how can you expect to get paid for something that has no value?

You need to invest money, the plan I have does not allow plugins, so I cannot carry out any SEO for my site, none, I write articles like this and hope that people will stumble across them through reader or something like that, and they do, I have an amazing (for my investment level) 162 followers , but with the correct SEO and the ability to get hits from Google organically there would a thousand times that if not more just based on the sheer numbers of people searching for the subject matter I write about.

And you need to invest commitment, if work obligations dictate that you can only do one or two posts or articles a week then commit to that and make those two articles the best researched that you can, go into the ins and outs and the ups and downs and provide a real body if information or guidance to your audience that they can connect with and more importantly that they will want to bookmark and come back to, or even better subscribe.

And finally invest YOU, don’t write about something just because you think it is going to be popular or because it seems lucrative for the moment, writing is about more, it is more personal, and if the words come from a genuine passion or a genuine desire to help others and impart information people will listen.

Conclusion

I have ranted on at length about a lot of failings within blogging and trying to make a passive income on the internet through blogging, the fact is there is no such thing as a passive income through blogging unless you get somebody else to do it for you, but the is a massive difference between having to start writing at 5am before you go to work and being able to sit down at home after dropping the kids off at school and writing what you want in an unhurried manner, or if you don’t have kids fitting your writing in around going to the gym or whatever it is that you can now afford to do, Blogs are still way of making a very good income, you just have to rpovide something worth buying, and never fall into the trap of thinking that “If you build it they will come” cos they may turn up but if they leave without buying into your message you will be just as skint as you were yesterday and a lot more tired.

Procrastination is the single biggest hurdle most of us face, in this quick post I found an interesting article on how to avoid it, essentially my plan is for the foreseeable future to make sure that where practical I put action into thoughts, instead of trying to find ways to put thoughts into action.

Take your time – but use each minute to it’s limit

There are a lot of mixed messages out on the internet and indeed in the traditional media, we are encouraged by some financial Guru’s to take our time, try not to get rich quick because it is a fallacy, while others bellow from neon lit stages that speed and persistence is the key, move fast and make mistakes and ultimately you can come up with an idea that tomorrow will make you a millionaire.

I have spent a lot of time considering both and I can honestly say that neither extreme is true, the idea of waiting for the moment when you no longer have to worry about money for what could possibly be years is not a pleasant one, and constantly finding the holes in the “get rich quick” schemes also leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Personally I have suffered at my own hand in the regard because I got caught up in the race to find the one thing that would make me rich tomorrow, the one thing that I am constantly being told is out there and if I just work hard enough I can get it, I started down a path and then abandoned it after the first hurdle, without really giving it the time to become anything, and only now can I say that I learned a lesson from an abandoned project that no Guru or marketing expert could ever have taught me.

I started this blog for two reasons, one, I wanted to help others like me who were looking to improve theirs and their families lives in every respect, people who had more than one thing to fix, and didn’t have the funds to chase down every dream offered for a price in a YouTube advert, and two, to build something that would bring in revenue, not through hard selling or fabrication but simply by using something or finding a resource that was valuable and then offering it for sale (usually through Amazon) for an affiliates commission, so a simple exchange of knowledge for the revenue that popularity can bring.

But it didn’t take off how I would like, I had seen (and indeed read) several articles and books on blogging and how if you get it right you can make it a good second income and if done professionally you can make it your primary income, and a good one at that, and I made 22 cents, not even enough to have WordPress send me a cheque, so I got disheartened, went back to dreading getting up on a morning and driving into work without the promise of a better life to come.

But I was still watching the videos as they were coming through on notification, and I was still looking for ways to make extra money.

Without any kind of interaction ( This is my first post in nearly a month ) this blog started to get more followers, people were still looking at it and they were liking my posts, until I could no longer ignore the obvious, I had started something, I had made the beginnings of a business that was capable of returning cash without any intervention at all, and the amount that it returned was directly proportional to the amount of effort I put in.

The point of this is that yes, you should be prepared to wait for the big payday, the popularity or the sales that you crave because things take time, they always have and despite the loud protestations of certain “influencers” they always will, but with the right content or products, and enough thought you can create a business that will eventually reward you with as much or as little effort as you choose to put in, and that business will stay on the internet forever more if you so choose, the pivotal moment is to realise that getting rich slow does not mean sitting back and taking it easy, it is more a state of mind that protects you from the disappointment of not becoming an overnight millionaire, it means making every minute that you are pursuing your side hustle and trying to build that financial freedom count, it means instead of a Netflix marathon when the kids go to bed, sit down and work, change things, run with every idea just in case, and don’t make the mistake I made, once you start something see it through, if it is just failing then cut it loose and go on with something else but you owe it to yourself and whoever else you had in mind when you started pursuing money to see it through until that decision becomes obvious.

I know it seems like stating the obvious but I got caught out by it and I didn’t want anybody else to because the time that I could have been posting or trying products, or looking for other ways to sell products and make the money that I set out to is gone now and I can’t get it back.

Photo by samer daboul from Pexels

End of the Affiliate Journey – For now at least

Possibly not the update that anybody was expecting, but life has a funny way of telling you things, small signs here and there that the direction you are taking is not the best path, I have spent some considerable time now with the Affiliate Marketing and the initial idea, which was to use paid for Facebook ads to promote a product and use Clickbank to get paid for doing so.

Things to consider when starting

  1. This is not going to be for free, Websites, YouTube videos and Guru’s sometimes try to push this message and it is fundamentally wrong, this business requires just one ingredient Traffic and this traffic needs to have some value, as in it needs to be directed, simply throwing 1000 unqualified leads at a landing page is highly unlikely to get any result, and traffic costs my friend, either in your time to build up a following on social media or in cash to by advertisements.
  2. The second thing is really an extension of the first point and was ultimately my undoing at this time, you will still need Time and quite a measurable amount too, think about it, you have to create landing pages, creatives and static ads (these can be done for free) and then place them and monitor the spending, as a side note you will notice that the majority of the success stories start with the phrase “I lost my Job” or “when I was eighteen” or some such other narrative that when you scratch beneath the surface implies that they started with a lot of time on their hands.
  3. Nearly all of the videos on YouTube are only half of the story, and in fact I would say it’s not even half more like one quarter, I promise that the curse of the blank page is nothing compared to staring at a video ad looping over and over and not knowing how to make it feel right and professional, and hiring somebody to do it is more money.

One of the conclusions I came to was this, the vast majority of the affiliate programs are centred around selling more affiliate training programs, I actually have a moral issue with this as it adds no value to peoples lives, These are nothing more than pyramid schemes in my opinion and ultimately although they can make money for some they do not for the vast majority of people involved.

I am not saying that affiliate programs are not viable in any way, I have links on this website to books that if anybody bought through me I would receive money, it would not make me rich but it would be earned simply as a by-product of something I enjoy doing, and as the reach of the website increases the scope for more people to see the links and click them also increases, this provides potential return on one time effort, and this is probably as close to Passive Income as it is possible to get.

Summary

In summary I feel it only right to say that the path to affiliate marketing that I started to take is best described as cynical, it would have worked with a larger budget and a smaller moral stance, quick money can be made this is true, but quick money is Small money, along the way I have spent time listening to giants of business and investing and a lot of their words have rung true with me, I understand the need for a side hustle if you have a day job as this is the only way to start on the road to financial freedom as all too often we start looking for money when we have grown out of our current income, and I also understand and would happily advise anybody that has the time and the freedom to dedicate every waking moment to affiliate marketing should do so, success stories are not always a tissue of lies to extract your hard earned money, a good amount of the time they are true and a reflection of what that person managed to achieve with their particular circumstances, just remember that their circumstances are NOT yours and you need to evaluate carefully what you can sacrifice in order to reach your goal, I am going to move toward the side hustle and will happily share any successes I have with you all on here, as well as getting on with the other side of the traineesuperhuman, the fitness and life motivation.

Till next time, run as fast as you can but make sure you have the right road!

Overcome the curse of the Blank Page

You probably wouldn’t have noticed but I have not posted for a while now, this is due, in part, to me not feeling particularly well and having very little energy for concentration, and partly because I just didn’t have anything to say, nothing to fill the page with that I felt would be of any use to anybody that followed me and no interest to anybody who might breeze past looking for something to read.

The problem was that I never tried to write anything, I didn’t open the laptop and just start typing, until now, I read a post by a successful blogger sometime ago that proffered the opinion that nobody really cares what we have to say, it was a bleak picture that ultimately attacked the whole reason why people start to blog in the first place and questioned the motivation of their would-be audience, I personally did not hold that belief then and still do not to this day, but I can see where they were coming from, I didn’t write anything because I didn’t think I had anything to say, But yet here I am now typing furiously (mostly the delete button) and making a mountain of mistakes as the story is drawn out of me.

You see, sometimes your inner voices and personality bursts through, you have something to say and your hands become the instrument of that voice, however it is important to realise that it can be the other way too, by just starting to write you can draw thoughts out of your mind and onto the page a lot like a siphon, and sometimes you can even surprise yourself, so do people care ? well yes and no, but no more or less than people care in your day to day life, if they (and you) were honest you would happily admit that sometimes people seem completely engaged in what we are saying, they look at you intently and laugh in all the right places and they just get it you know? and others they are looking around the room missing the punchlines and searching for a way out, and we are no different, but this does not stop us talking, we make small talk and we converse with people simply by making our way through the day, never stopping to wonder if what we are saying is of interest.

So when the blank page stares at you and you stare back at it wondering what to do and questioning if what you have to say is good enough just start typing, anything just words, the moment you do guess what ? it’s not a blank page anymore you have won!

What happened to the Affiliate Marketing?

You probably didn’t even think to ask, but it was one of my most popular posts to date and I do hope that it was of use to people and helped to demystify the beginnings, my stumbling block if you can call it that is to create good adverts, ones that look polished and not amateur like the one in the previous post, this has proved harder than I initially anticipated and even using GIMP and other open source tools, the learning curve is quite steep, as a side note this is something that is probably unique to me and you should give it a try to see if you can get to the top of the curve before I do! so I have made a decision to hire somebody from Fiverr to complete the advert for me, I m currently just going through the possibles to pick the one that seems to have the best portfolio, and looking at the prices for this work compared to the cost of the average marketing course I am still expending only a fraction of the investment required and I am not sure if any of these courses could actually teach you how to create a good professional advert without being a professional digital marketer.

So once I have done this I will continue my dive into affiliate marketing and hopefully after navigating Facebook advertising see some money rolling in!

So, In summary

Well that is it really, I have stalled on my affiliate marketing journey and I am just getting better from whatever the hell it was that I came down with, and hopefully I have inspired anybody out there who is struggling with the blank page to not give up but to simply start typing and then the page doesn’t seem so scary anymore.

Till next time………….

Jeez what a day!

So I am all set now for the start of the Holiday Challenge and one of my brain waves was to go to the local swimming pool to get some widths in to provide a kick start to my cardio for the week, but I could not have been more wrong, if you imagine being stuck on the London underground in rush hour, up to your waist in warm water semi naked (as is a swimmers want) that is exactly what we walked into, I can assure you however close the analogy there are a lot more awkward moments when you are wearing a swimming costume in close proximity to others than when you are in a business suit!

However my daughters loved it, and managed to thoroughly enjoy the slides and chutes as well as the wild water section where an artificial current drags you round a circular pool, one thing that made me laugh was given the close proximity of parents and children funnelled into a whirlpool you really had to look twice to make sure you still had hold of the same child at the end as at the start! but I finally made my way from the play pool to the main boring square one that had no slides, chutes, flumes, whirlpools or plastic dragons firing water at me from varying angles, and so despite the odd cannonball from an over excited child ( usually my eldest daughter ) I managed to get some swimming done before setting off back home for a family barbeque.

I have cooked on a barbeque previously but only for us and relatively small quantities of food, so the prospect of cooking for the in-laws as well was frightening, I was further shaken by all forums and instructions on the NET stating that the charcoal was ready to cook on when it was covered in grey dust and the grill could maintain a steady temperature of 250 degrees, nowhere and I mean nowhere did it make reference to the charcoal being 50/50 black and grey and the temperature a good steady 300 degrees (largely because that was as high as the gauge read) while being put under pressure by a line of people with plates of raw meat, so I just took a chance and cooked on it open, and despite having slightly thinner eyebrows and a stronger facial tan the whole thing was a success.

we even managed to get some gardening out of the in-laws, which is a bonus because I am far from green fingered, and the disapproving looks, sighs of disappointment and the more than occasional exclamation of sheer surprise at the wife’s and my gardening skills is a small price to pay for transformation they seem to be able to make in only the time it takes me to cook a chicken breast to the point that I have to identify it to my daughter as she is picking what she wants to eat.

I am having my before photos done tonight as well as the Mrs did point out that for a fitness and finance blog I have only two pictures of me to illustrate that I have made any progress at all! and as yet nothing on finance, but in my defence I still haven’t found any financial that is worth talking about!

So if you read down this far, thank you, and I will catch up again later.

main Photo by Min An from Pexels

End of an era

Ok so possibly a little over dramatic but I think that as time has gone on the purpose for the blog has changed somewhat and the updates on what I am doing no longer really fit, I want instead, to concentrate on helping people as much as possible to access information and motivation to live the best life they possibly can, in the short while that I have been doing this I have spent time researching many different things that I had never taken notice of before, I have practised Yoga, I have tried intermittent fasting and have learnt a lot about the sheer amount of predators in the online money making game.

However I have only just scratched the surface and I feel that the Practice the Preaching is probably more in line with my Instagram than anything else, as a result I am going to expanding the website side of this and adding things like my passion for photography as well, I am currently to be found on 500px.

But importantly I am looking to start trying out money making schemes, and recording my progress, this may well be slow at first as there is a certain amount of financial outlay involved but I can start with the “free courses initially” to see if these are actually worth spending the time to watch or is it an hour you will never get back!

So it is onward and upward, and hopefully I can really make something worthwhile.

Dealing with Despair

The mind is a funny thing and is far more complicated than we will ever know (at the very least in my lifetime) and occasionally it can seem to be working against us, plans that are carefully laid are doubted and things we decide are true and right are questioned, and this effect is further magnified the longer our plans take to come into fruition, one of the many problems with this is that it can distract us, suddenly we start looking for alternatives to the plans we have laid, and start re-examining facts and figures that previously we were sure of.

Dealing with this is tricky, we must learn to understand the difference between doubt and intuition, many times in your life so far you will have felt that something is either good or bad in an instant, it is that innate ability that we all have, however it’s brutal honest nature often gets it ignored in favour of a path that is more to our liking, I personally have a fascination with intuition, precognition and the undeveloped abilities of the mind in general, but I will expand that later.

Doubt on the other hand tends to be the re-evaluation of known facts in the absence of any additional information, we let our minds wander in quiet times and inevitably you will start to concentrate on subjects that are of paramount importance.

The only way to deal with this is to actively fight against it and remember to do this with some considerable effort, years can be wasted allowing negative thoughts and emotions to slow us down stop us from progressing.

As a quick example of how I have learnt to deal with the darker moments, have a look at the three points below.

What am I worried about?

What are you worried about, I mean that literally, stop and ask yourself, “So what is the problem?” and list (on paper if it is easier for you to visualise) what exactly it is that is worrying you, this can be anything and you can be brutally honest with yourself at this point, no matter how you think your fears would be received by anybody else write them down, the only person reading it will be you.

Evaluate your worries

With that done to be honest you may feel slightly worse, that would be a normal response to a sudden listing of everything that is worrying us, but this is where you have to really fight, and fight as if your life depends on it, because allowing these negative internal influences can literally rob you of portions of your life, and that isn’t right even if it is you that’s doing it,

Look at each one and consider it carefully, what are the chances of it happening? what would the outcome be if it did happen? is there any mitigating action that can be taken? and one I personally use, is this happening right now? if not you can relax instantly because if it is not happening now then you have time to prepare and be ready for it even if the answers to the first questions aren’t ideal.

Crowd out the negative with positive

Now start to focus on the answers to your worries as identified by you, these are the positive actions you can take that make the worries that are plaguing you worthless, concentrating on these you can see that as each worry or problem is negated it will just diminish until it no longer exists, in fact as an exercise it may well be that the additional focus on the answers to the worries/problems actually brings stronger and more productive answers allowing you to solve problems quicker.

Depression

Depression is a serious matter however and if you start to feel that no matter what you do to cope you just can’t lift yourself out of this spiral, you should contact one of the various organisations that are there to help, starting with your GP / Doctor, we all deserve the best chance at life but unfortunately society can be cruel, peer groups, governments and their agencies, finance companies, social media can and will all take their toll, and for the most part the people involved don’t even give enough thought to their victims to consider the impact of their actions, so at least it is not personal, what you have to do is reach out to the other side of society, there is many good people around that want to help, some for money sure, but others literally because they want to help, if you ask they will answer, don’t let yourself become another statistic of the system.

Main Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

Amazing Downtime

I had an amazing time last night with the Mrs for her birthday, we went to York to a Thai Tapas restaurant http://phranakhon.co.uk/ to be exact and had arguably some of the best food I have ever had (certainly Thai at the very least) and the went on to see The Rocky Horror Show at the York Opera House, the performance was amazing and I even managed a bit of a time warp!

I was able to enjoy myself with an amazing woman in an awesome place with outstanding food and an unutterably good show.

And this morning? Did I go for a 5k walk and did I feel guilty about eating food that isn’t exactly “on plan” ? HELL NO! We got in late and I had an early start at work, so literally did not have the time, we put all the work in so we can cut loose, we eat a sensible diet tailored to our needs so when we go out we can indulge and we stay in shape so that we can enjoy ourselves until the early hours when the opportunity arises.

The only lesson, only lesson here is to work harder, work so hard you turn weekends into weeks, fun and enjoyment into simply “life”, I was feeling a bit deflated before going out but now ready to take on the world.

There is an adage about a struggling salesman buying a bigger car to help him sell, sometimes we need to just get out and enjoy ourselves to remember what we are working for.

Children and iPad’s when is it enough?

The world is changing and as always Children are just changing along with it, without question and without a hitch so it would seem, if anything I feel jealous sometimes that my kids adapt to new technology and within a very short period of time are using the new gadget or application with the ease of a seasoned pro, they can do this because they do not resist change, life for them has been constant fast paced change and they are comfortable with it, no sooner can they walk and talk as they are then put into pre-schools, people come people go and they are constantly introduced to new experiences and toys to assist their learning, by definition parents on the other hand tend to be at least a generation away and have, if nothing else gotten used to a slower pace of life, we have settled into jobs / careers found somewhere to live and our interests and hobbies are all pretty much fixed by the time we consider having children, actually it is often this particular milestone that triggers the conversations about having kids.

So we start to resist changes, we look with suspicion at gadgets and apps as they appear on the market, and with confusion at the latest craze to sweep over our children from YouTube or TikTok or whatever the current craze is, but these differences just flow into and out of their lives with ease.

Children will literally spend hours staring at a screen.

They do not have the normal indicators that they have spent time on the devices though, their schedules are still dictated by us the parent, and I would be lying if I said that I haven’t found it easier to get things done when the girls are sat happily wandering down a YouTube spiral or making videos and editing them to share with friends.

But of course that is flawed because it is easy for us to lose track of time and before you know it hours have gone by and all you have seen of them is the back of the iPad or phone, the reaction is usually to tell them to stop playing with the devices and go out and play, or at the very least do something different, today I did this very thing and was horrified when they both stood outside in the garden looking a little lost, my youngest daughter wanted to play a game with her sister but she was sulking a little brought on (I suspect by the manor in which she was asked to put the iPad down and go out and play) so my youngest became very frustrated and chaos began to ensue, the problem was that they had no real alternative easily at hand, the virtual worlds that our children disappear into are so vast and colourful offering the ability to manipulate their surroundings at will and offer instant gratification that they are honestly a hard act to follow, but instead of getting just as stressed as they were I bundled them in the car and drove to a local bargain store and let them choose a selection of toys to play with back at home, I was surprised at how engaged they were, they picked and we headed home with inflatable limbo, a cricket set and some devices that you swing round your ankle and attempt to skip over with the other foot, as well as hula hoops.

A far cry from the 4k HD screens they had been so upset to leave these things grabbed their imaginations the way they always would have done before iPads came along, they were bright, fun, and cheap there was no requirement to be careful with them they were their to have fun and possibly more importantly they worked better if you had somebody there to play with.

The afternoon went amazingly they played and apart from one relapse where my youngest had a minute on the iPad before putting it down to see what her sister was doing (she ultimately found a lot more fun in knocking over the Limbo pole as her sister was going under it) there was very few tears and they went to bed tired and happy.

We cannot remove these devices from our children completely, I know there are several schools of thought on the subject but it seems impossible to me and as far as I am concerned it would be damaging, information is imparted through these devices, our children are educated and inspired through them, and they will only play a bigger and bigger role in their futures, to deny them this would be to isolate them from their peer groups at best and at worst completely cut them off from career paths / life skills that they will need in the very near future, an indicator of just how fast we have moved from when I was a child, I can remember a VCR with a remote control on a wire being amazing, the ultimate in luxury, in contrast when my youngest daughter was three she became very frustrated that the TV screen didn’t react to her pressing it, as she just expected to be able to navigate the menus by touch, I still have issues picking up the phone in case a get an automated answering service at the other end, whereas they will happily have entire conversations with Siri.

My point is that we should not be scared of the focus and fascination that they exhibit with these devices, and nor should we take it personally when we try and speak to them and get a mere grunt of recognition, children will do fun things 100 percent and if we observe it we get the same response when they are engaged in physical games or playing with friends absent of any devices.

There is a balance inherent in life with all things and this is just another example of finding that balance, but while everybody at the minute seems to be vilifying tablets and phones in the hands of children we tend to forget that it is us that has put these devices in their hands and we need to remember that we need to moderate their use, as well as be responsible for securing these devices, and a good engaging alternative will smooth the way.