A Kingston family has joined a national campaign to exchange screen time for swim time in a bid to “reconnect in real life”.

According to Ofcom, British children, aged five to 15, now spend an average of 15 hours online per week.

As part of the Love Swimming initiative by Swim England and London leisure provider GLL, mum Alys Hennessy-Holt and her son Sam recently took part in a month-long challenge, committing to taking a dip in their local pool at least once a week.

Alys said: “I’m really conscious that I spend too much time on my screen and not always engaging with my son, and he does too.

“Sometimes it feels like it’s just easier to collapse sofa and check up on the news online than get out and do something together.

“But I’m so glad we’ve made the effort to start doing a weekly swimming session together.

“I know Sam loves his swimming and I’m so happy to spend these precious hours every week sharing in something he loves.

“We’ve really rediscovered a connection and it is always worth the effort of getting down to the pool.”

Sam added: “I love swimming so it’s brilliant to have even more time at the swimming pool – but it’s even more special that my mum joins me now.

“We have so much fun and I really love seeing her smiling and having a good time. It’s much better than playing games online.”

In a 2017 OnePoll survey, almost nine in 10 people agreed gadgets get in the way of spending quality family time together.

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.”

To find your nearest pool and how to join the campaign go here: http://www.swimming.org/justswim/love-swimming-campaign/