Parents know the importance of limiting screen time, but it’s important to recognize that electronic devices can also be valuable educational tools. Not all screen time is bad for kids – and here’s why!
During the pandemic, there was an overwhelming shift in our kids’ use of electronic devices as virtual learning became commonplace. Even before being locked down and learning from home, screen time was already an area of concern with many parents. Students already spend enough time on their phones and tablets when relaxing, and combining this with their school routine means limiting screen time isn’t a viable option for many families.
New research indicates that this issue is more nuanced than it appears to be – after all, it’s not fair to lump all screen time into the same category! Video games and action movies are certainly fun, but they might not be the ideal content for kids to “zone out” with for extended periods of time. As an alternative, educational video games, YouTube channels, and TV programs are all excellent examples of screen-based activities that can be enriching and motivating!
A good rule of thumb is to consider whether or not the screen time is encouraging your child to explore activities away from the screen – even if they’re not entirely realistic at the moment. For example, watching a documentary about space travel might make a student want to be an astronaut some day. Or, a YouTube travel channel that encourages them to visit other countries and enjoy other cultures. Dream big!
Another thing to consider is that screen time doesn’t have to be a passive activity. Screens are often used as tools for people to venture out into the real world – perhaps the most recent example of this was the Pokemon Go craze a few years ago. With exercise apps, scavenger hunt games, and nature guides all available on your phone, there’s plenty of great ways to link screen time to mental and physical exercise!
As an important reminder, experts still say to practice “common sense” – it’s never a good idea to have our kids glued to a screen for most of their day. Still, parents can encourage their students to make the most of their screen time by engaging in content that will inspire their sense of creativity! To learn more on this topic, check out “The Messy Truth About Kids’ Screen Time” by Shira Ovide.
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