They may not have mastered the art of crossing the road safely or eating dinner without coating the table (and the floor) with food – but rumour has it the average six-year-old child understands more about digital technology than a 45-year-old adult.
No matter how old your kids are, being a parent in 2017 is tough. Sometimes it’s hard to work out who is teaching who when it comes to learning the ways of the world – and technology is no exception.
But kids plus technology doesn’t need to equal arguments about cartoons, video games, and phones at the dinner table. Technology can be your friend when it comes to parenting, particularly if you’re looking for tools to help kids learn about being responsible with money and developing eco-friendly habits.
When it comes to household energy, it’s important to teach your offspring that the power they use costs money and affects the planet.
But getting your kids to switch the TV off occasionally can be a mammoth task – let alone convincing them to stop leaving the lights on everywhere, as though your house is a hotel filled with invisible guests. And don’t get me started about the plethora of unidentifiable gadgets that seem to require constant charging, like hungry animals chomping at the plug sockets.
What if there was a way to get your kids to think about the energy they’re wasting of their own accord? And what if there was a way to make energy saving into a game?
Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters being rolled out to everyone in Great Britain. Your energy supplier will install yours for you free of charge, and if you rent your home you get can one too – as long as it’s your name on the bills.
Smart meters mean accurate bills and an end to manual meter readings, so before you’ve even started with the kids, that’s one less thing on your to-do list. Even more importantly, smart meters come with a handheld in-home display, which shows you – and your kids – how much energy you’re using as you use it, in pounds and pence.
It’s so much easier to talk about energy waste and household bills when you can translate it into the language of pocket money. And having a digital display takes energy one step closer to the modern, tech-savvy world our kids exist in.
For Robert, his smart meter has already made a big difference to his son’s understanding of energy use at home, and has provided Robert himself with a new understanding of which appliances use most energy.
Robert says the traffic light system on the display has been of particular interest to his son: “When we first got the smart meter he took great delight in turning on all our appliances to make the light turn red, and unplugging them again to see when it would turn to amber and then green.
“He now has a really good understanding of the appliances that use most energy, which has been an unexpected but really positive aspect of having a smart meter.”
Get in touch with your energy supplier today about getting your smart meter installed at no extra cost. Your bank balance will thank you for it, and you never know – you might find your kids transform into teachers.
Lucy Maggs, Smart Energy GB
For more information visit Smart Energy GB
 Ofcom’s annual study of British consumers, 2014