OP/ED: Screen Time Is What You Make Of It

Technology has become an everyday use in almost every household, from televisions, phones, laptops and gaming systems it is sometimes hard to get away from the screen. It is especially hard to get the kids away because, well, technology is what we use as play time for kids nowadays. 

Studies show that kids and teens between the ages of eight to 18 spend about seven hours each day looking at screens.

For many years the growth of technology has always been a concerning topic for parents simply because of the affect that screen time could have on their child. There have been accusations that too much screen time can cause young children to have mood swings, anxiety, lack of communication and even cause them to not be able to focus on one topic  after a certain amount of time. 

As of March 2020, the coronavirus has impacted every household across the world. People have lost jobs, college students have been sent back home and all schools have been closed. Everyone’s schedule has been thrown off, nobody is used to being home every day. 

Before the coronavirus, the average time for kids spent on the screen has been seven hours. This was known as a bad habit to parents all over because of the affects it could have on their children. Now that everybody is quarantined it could somewhat be concerning to parents about how to not only homeschool their child but as to how are they going to keep them away from the screen with such a busy schedule. Fears are growing about what the extended time could look like.

But, what if the roles have switched?

What if screen time during quarantine has actually turned into a good thing? Technology and “good” have rarely ever been put together. But now experts are saying that screentime is a good thing for kids.

Experts are now saying that it is not about how much screen time a child gets, it is about what your kids do with the screen time that will have an effect on them during this quarantine. 

According to TodayUSA, since schools have been closed parents have been occupied with finding ways to prevent too much screen time. Jordan Shapiro the writer of “The New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connected World,” suggests that removing the name “screen time” can actually help. Shapiro suggests that it is much more important to monitor how your kids are playing with these electronics than to worry about what effects the electronics have on your kids. 

For example, there are screen times that are considered negative, such as  binge watching Youtube videos that aren’t educational? or playing video games that have no in depth purpose to cognitive learning skills. Are they on the screen alone all the time or are they interacting with other kids and other people?

All of these topics are important to focus on.  So, instead of monitoring how much more screen time the children are getting, monitor what they are watching. 

If the child is exposed to educational youtube videos, television shows that can potentially teach them something, online classrooms, online playdates and videos of indoor workouts are all beneficial to your children’s mental and physical health. That is all fine, none of this will turn their brain into a marshmallow. Screen time can actually help your child with anxiety, communication, attention and education. 

But still make some time for them to enjoy a fun non-educational program or game. 

If screen time still is not for you or your children, there are many other alternatives that can be not only educational but super fun to get your kids off of the screen. There are many activities parents can do instead of screen time that makes being home educational and fun. Go outside for a walk or a bike ride and get some exercise in. This can be a sort of replacement for your child’s gym class. 

Art is very important in children’s learning skills, as you an order a few canvases or clay and make art projects. This not only will help your kids with their motor skills but it gets their creative thoughts flowing and allows them to express their feelings and emotions. Art is a great form of communication, but it is a great way to spend time with your kid and learn more about them. 

You can have a family game night, and play kid jeopardy. Trivia game nights allows your children to think of what they have learned in their school experience so far and also learn new information from other questions. The best part is they will be having so much fun they wont even know they are learning. 

Lastly, dance parties are a major key in my family, it’s a form of exercise, family time and they’re fun! 

Quarantine has made our lives do a full 180, it is so easy to get stressed during this time. Instead of looking at this situation in a negative light use this situation to say that you have helped your kids and learned so much more about them with all of the outdoor and indoor activities. And when it comes to screen time, don’t worry – your kid’s brain will not turn into a marshmallow, just remember to monitor what they are watching and set a time limit for non education or non productive screen time.


Stay safe and stay healthy.