In the 21st century, all of us are leading a technology-driven life. Our dependency on technology is increasing every day. The last year especially we have seen how important it was to be technologically advanced, that is technology became an indispensable part of our lives which in turn has increased our screen times. When the pandemic occurred and as the world shut down, we were constricted in the four walls of our homes. Organizations and companies moved to the digital platform to resume their activities.
Another field that became highly dependent on the digital platform was educational institutions. The only way educational institutions like schools, colleges, and universities could stay connected and teach their students effectively, was through an online presence. Online classes became a widely used option to teach children and continue classes. This directly affected the screen time of our children.
As parents, we have always been against screen time because of the ill health effects it will have on our children. But, in a situation where our children cannot go outdoors for playing, or meet friends, or go to places; it seems like screen time will have to differ. So, in such a situation it is normal to question and be confused about what exactly is the right way to go about it.
Major sources of entertainment for our children which included outdoor activities and having playdates seemed to be snatched away by the pandemic. Assignments, school classes, and tuitions also moved to the online platform. So how to limit the screen time of our children during the pandemic?
Parenting in Pandemic How Much Screen Time Is Right For Kids?
This situation is something we are not used to at all. It will be difficult to wrap our heads around the fact that the screen time of our children is going to increase manifold. We have to make peace with this and accordingly change our expectations regarding how much time they are allowed to spend. Try to be considerate and understanding your kids needs as they are also completely foreign to this situation and do not know how to navigate through.
If used wisely, technology can be a very strong tool for learning. If used in the right manner, there are a myriad of things and topics to learn on the Internet. Children can learn, read and educate themselves on various topics through this medium. So, all screen time is not bad. By keeping a check on your kid’s screen time and how they are utilising it, it is possible that from their screen time they enhance their knowledge and capabilities.
Before the pandemic, our children could go out on playdates or could visit each other in their homes, but now they are completely cut off from their friends. So, the only way to remain connected to their friends is through calls on phones and laptops. Let your children remain connected to their friends and allow them to talk to their friends regularly. Although, this may not be what you want, don’t cut off their social life due to this reason. Moderate and control it, but don’t terminate it completely.
You can manage their screen time by having a schedule or a routine. Having a schedule will help in moderating their screen time effectively and efficiently. In the schedule, mention how much time in a day are they allowed screen time. Further, how much time would be dedicated to each activity, say talking to friends or extra-reading for school. This will put a check and balance system in place and will benefit both us and our children.
Screen time before pandemic mainly was used as a tool for entertainment among our children and that is why we put a set time limit for the same. Now, not only is it for educational purposes but also for increased entertainment time as all other forms of entertainment have shut down for them. But a good solution for this is that, in their entertainment time where they watch cartoons and other shows, they can watch shows that are educational and fun at the same time. An example of an educational cum fun TV show for children is Sid the Science Kid, Sesame Street,etc. Discovery and National Geographic are extremely educational and entertaining TV Channels.
This time can be used to discover new hobbies in your child. Developing new hobbies is an exceptionally fun and time-consuming activity. It will keep your child engaged and will help in broadening their horizon. Variety, according to research, is vital for the developing brain. Exploring different activities and skills is a good method to keep your child away from the screen and at the same time help them develop and grow.
- Family Time
This is the best time where all of us can spend time as a family. Before pandemic with hectic work schedules, it was difficult to spend a lot of time with our family, for some of us. But, during the pandemic when all of us are at home together, it gives us a chance to share and bond. Eating meals, having game nights, doing household chores like cooking together are few activities we can do together.
Managing screen time during the pandemic for our children is no doubt a very tricky situation. But these are a few pointers that can help with this and understand the situation better. There are a lot of other pointers like using screen time as a component for reward or punishment. With a little patience and consideration, this tricky situation can become easy to navigate.
Wow, so helpful. This is very nice.