Screen time is something parents are perpetually warned about. Back in the days when there was only television the popular refrain was “too much tv will rot your brain.” As screens evolved into things we use for work, school, entertainment, and communication, there was a real fear that too much screen time would be detrimental to children. As it turns out, screen time is much more about quality than quantity, something that parents should find especially comforting during the remainder of the pandemic.
More than half of parents say they think their children will be addicted to screens by the end of the pandemic. Screens are necessary right now for school as well as entertainment and keeping connected with friends and family, so everyone including kids is logging a lot of extra time on screens these days.
But these aren’t the screens of yesteryear and screen time is more interactive than ever before. When screens are used for a purpose, there is a payoff to their use. Communicating with friends and family keeps us connected during these difficult times when we can’t be there in person. Learning new things via online school or even a YouTube video enriches children’s lives. Even watching shows as a family and discussing them is a great way to spend time together when you can’t go anywhere.
While it’s true that kids can risk developmental delays when screens are used as a substitute for human interaction, right now they provide an opportunity to connect with like-minded peers as well as the ability to explore new hobbies and interests.
For concerned parents, ensuring kids are getting the right kind of screen time is far more important than eschewing screens altogether. Following a few simple guidelines, like setting parental controls, keeping screens in common areas, and talking about what your child sees online with them can make screen time worthwhile. Learn more about the need to reevaluate screen time below.