“You’re a terrible mom for sticking your kid in front of a screen all day!"
“Take your kid outside for once!”
“Your child’s brain is going to rot if you keep sticking them in front of that TV!”
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably had one or two of these thoughts pop into your head as we enter the new era of streaming and connectivity.
Screen time is a generally new concept that has developed in the time of streaming services, virtual game play, remote learning, and more.
Well what exactly qualifies as screen time you may be asking? A quick google search describes it as the time spent using a device such as a computer, television, or games console.
With remote learning and overall school plans differing state to state, your child is likely spending a lot of time online. This has presumably resulted in your child's average screen time around the house doubling, if not tripling.
For many folks, screen time carries a huge stigma — but as we dive deeper into the 21st century it’s easy to see that TVs, computers, and other electronics are here to stay.
That being said, let’s get a few things straight when it comes to screen time and get you out of that “hard on yourself” mentality.
A New Way of Thinking: How We View Screen Time
Screen time is often demonized, and pointed to being “the easy way out” or the “lazy approach” — that’s just not true. Times are changing, and things aren’t like they were when you and I were growing up.
The reality is that in a COVID-filled world, screens are not going away anytime soon. In fact, some screen-based activities can yield positive outcomes for our children.
Screen use among kids has exploded over the past decade — not only outside of school, but also as an (often required) educational tool. Between homework, social media, video games and YouTube videos, many kids rack up six or seven hours of screen time daily.
Once limited to TVs and PCs, personal electronic devices now include tablets, smartphones, and laptop computers — all of which are easy to access and and even easier to transport. While this technology expands the academic experience (and enables students to learn material in new ways).
Positive screen time can add educational value, improve motor skills and coordination, encourage socialization and communication, and more.
Now, while I’m not here to tell you what screen time variation and policing may work best for your family — I can tell you that it’s all about balance and understanding what your family needs.
Striking a balance and healthy relationships between screen time and real-life human interaction is often what leads to the most successful screen time experiences. When it comes to education, the two can intermingle quite easily as we’ve seen since instituting remote learning across the United States.
Screen time is not evil, and it doesn’t make you a bad mom. Let me give you some tools you can implement right now to encourage a healthy bond between your child and screen time.
Tools to Strike a Healthy Balance
Here are some positive screen time uses that are safe and effective for your family.
1) Asking a question and encouraging research such as ‘What is the largest mammal on the planet and what’s the coolest thing about them?’ and letting your child run free to learn all about it.
National Geographic has a fun, safe, and easy-to-use website for your child to explore. It’s an excellent tool for conducting research — and it’s safe and certified by teachers and academia as a whole.
2) Using educational apps to master comprehension skills, all while they feel like they are playing a game!
Analogies For Kids is a really cool app that helps your child practice analogies. Analogies can improve vocabulary and reasoning in your child. The app includes different characters and sound effects to keep kids engaged.
This is a safe and awesome app for many reasons:
It’s a fun and educational app for kids in 1st Grade and above.
The app does NOT need internet connection, so your child can be occupied while on the road or anywhere where there is no internet available. Privacy guaranteed.
The app offers 100% money back guarantee ANYTIME — After one year or two years, it does not matter.
The app is available on the App Store. While you’re there, I encourage you to take a look at other educational apps. It’s super easy to look at reviews to see how other parents feel about them.
3) Reading books on a screen is just as valid an activity as reading printed books, and there are even some advantages: For example, most e-reader apps have a built-in dictionary so children can look up unfamiliar words.
GetEpic.com is a great tool for your child to use during remote learning and screen time in general
Even better, the site is granting free access to kids during school closures! Epic Free offers every student two hours of free weekly reading in a library of high-quality, educational books. Go here to find out further details.
Hopefully, this helped put your mind at ease just a bit. We’re navigating uncharted territory right now — and while we’re unsure of a lot, these tools will help you provide a safe, fun, and effective learning experience for your child.
At Jill’s Tutors, we work with an extensive teacher’s network of online tutors and educators, available for all levels of learning and in all subjects. You can call or text 512-598-5135 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll set you up with one of our talented, remote educators.