Is screen time really all that bad? There was a point in time when people thought zip codes were the downfall of civilization, so there is always going to be a portion of the world that warms up to new ideas and technologies more slowly. For decades parents have been warned about the perils of too much screen time. The truth, as with many things, is considerably more nuanced than that. As with most things, the quality of screen time is much more important than the quantity of screen time.
Because of the pandemic, 85% of parents worry that their kids could be addicted to screens by the time there is a vaccine. While parents are certainly experts on their kids, they are often influenced by an overblown sense of worry endemic to all parents. Objectively, not all children are likely to display addictive behaviors just because a stimulus is present.
What’s more, screens have become necessary during the pandemic. Kids and adults alike are using screens to stay connected with peers, conduct school and business, and relax with some entertainment at the end of the day.
For kids, higher quality media is less likely to lead to problems. Things that lead to active participation, like video chats, video games, instructional videos about new hobbies, content creation, and shows that are watched and discussed as a family or peer group can enrich rather than addict.
In order to ensure your kids are getting the highest quality screen time:
- Keep screens out of bedrooms to avoid sleep problems and inappropriate media
- Use parental controls to ensure kids aren’t accessing media they shouldn’t or using media at times they shouldn’t
- Keep an open dialogue about what kids are seeing, doing, and learning online
Learn more about quality screen time from the infographic below.