Even as states relaxed restrictions and people began to return to ‘the world’, screen time, including the use of social media, continued to increase among children and adolescents. . While much of this results from the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has forced young people into isolation, calls are still being made for parents to balance screen time due to its impact on health. mental health and general well-being of children.
One of the concerns is not just more screen time, but how much more.
According to recent findings from a survey conducted by HighSpeedInternet.com, 57% of Americans surveyed said their screen time had increased by an hour or more since their isolation. The study also found that 30% of Americans surveyed said they spent most of their time streaming TV shows or movies in isolation, while 70% of Americans surveyed said they downloaded a new app for quarantine entertainment. , including games and entertainment. .
The benefits of screen time
With families stranded at home and schools closed, it was not all the time for the “bad screen”.
“While many professionals suggest screen time is bad for children, it can actually have many positive benefits,” said autism expert Jessica Leichtweisz, CEO of Hope Educational Services. “For example, young children often learn their letters, numbers, colors and shapes by watching Youtube videos.
Other benefits include providing young people with a place to connect with others, as well as creating new interests, but other experts countered that there is still a need to exercise good judgment in what. concerns screen time.
In other words, hours spent watching educational videos on YouTube are one thing, while posting on SnapChat may not offer the same benefits.
A balance of time
Making screen time time well spent is what experts suggest, especially as the country opens up and returns to a certain sense of normalcy. While many young people have grown accustomed to hours of staring at a screen, now is the time rather than killing time.
Educational screen time should also be encouraged for this reason.
“It is paramount to be aware that technology is a tool that can positively improve learning outcomes and comprehension, but technology for the sake of technology can be detrimental and in fact hamper learning,” said declared Dr. Jennifer Walsh-Rurak, Ed.D, vice-president of Fusion Education Group.
“When considering a lesson or activity, even in these days of online teaching, it is essential that teachers consider whether learning can be improved using online tools, or if it would be more. screen time, “Walsh-Rurak explained.” Teaching tasks such as interviewing a family member, using household items to conduct an experiment, reading a book, or exercising can provide learning outcomes. positive and well-deserved breaks from screen time.
Use the screen as one resource
Just as television can be a source of information or just as easily an entertainment distraction, mobile devices, tablets and computers are the same. If screen time is spent learning or expanding, that’s probably a good thing.
However, experts have warned that relying on the screen as a source of information can have its own issues.
“Having access to a strong library of resources, online services and applications can enhance the online learning experience, but too many virtual learning tools can also become overwhelming for students and ultimately of account, adversely affect the educational experience, ”said Walsh-Rurak.
Too often today it is easy to hear from children – and to put it bluntly from far too many adults – “I read it on the Internet”. This should not be taken as valid research. As Waslh-Rurak noted, a virtual library of information from websites is good, but it should improve the actual library experience, whether the source is printed on paper or displayed on screen.
But at the same time, the screen cannot be the teacher. Even in the age of distance learning, students of all ages need to have some semblance of interaction with others.
“Our computer screens can be lifelines in terms of connectivity during these otherwise isolating days,” warned Walsh-Rurak. “Allowing enough time to connect with peers online to socialize, play games and share experiences can make these untenable moments less isolating and promote a shared sense of community.”
As the weather warms up and people may start to go out – even with social distancing – it is advisable to put down the screens.
“It’s important to remember that too much of everything, even things that serve us in a positive way like exercise, can take its toll,” Walsh-Rurak added. “Teachers and parents need to be aware of the time spent collectively in front of a screen.”