4 concepts for balancing screen time in the online learning era
Screen time, social media, video games and various other online and digital activities are pretty much the only way students can maintain social lives under stay-at-home orders.
Parents and educators should therefore not worry too much about how many hours students over the age of 5 spend on a screen.
“We have done a good job of terrifying people about screen time,” says Chris Ferguson, a professor of psychology at Stetson University in Florida. “The evidence suggests that screen time in and of itself is not a good predictor of anything and that it’s not poisonous in the way we might have convinced parents.”
Spending time with friends and peers is developmentally essential for the well-being of teens and pre-teens. So, adults should ensure that children and teenagers are completing school work, as well as getting enough sleep and exercise.
“Kids can go up to six hours a day without any noticeable change in mental wellness,” Ferguson says. “If everything else is balanced, their brains are not going to rot because they’re playing video games four hours a day.”
So, should educators readjust their notions of “too much screen time” for students, both while schools are closed and once buildings reopen?
Here are four concepts to consider:
- How educators can encourage digital wellness.
- How two districts helped students disconnect from devices.
- Why educators need to change their ed-tech message.
- How to create a healthy ed-tech culture in class and at home.
Matt Zalaznick is DA’s senior writer.
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