Importance of structured and non-structured Screen time. 24 Aug 2020

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The Pandemic situation has brought major challenges but schools have valiantly risen to the challenge to ensure that learning continues uninterrupted and the transition to virtual platforms using current technologies and tools has been quick and smooth.

 

But this has resulted in a sharp spike in concerns among parents regarding screen time.

 

  1. Children are spending way too much time in front of the screens due to online classes.
  2. Their tender eyes might suffer due to excess screen time.
  3. They are getting addicted to gadgets.
  4. How much is too much screen time? We have done a related blog on this, please check.

 

The debate about screen time has been there since the dawn of technology. It is indeed a complex topic to discuss as we have varied perspectives on how constant engagement with technology through screen affects our child?s life.

 

Parents are talking about screen time but ideally, we should be discussing good/structured and bad/non-structured screen time. Because if we guide our children toward technology that teaches them something productive, it will definitely reduce most of our screen time and increase children?s learning opportunities. It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to prioritize our children?s academic knowledge-building and learning screen engagement with other non-structured, entertainment-based screen engagement.

 

Why is structured screen time important?

 

Be it online learning, yoga/exercise sessions, social interaction, structured screen time for our children should be the primary focus for parents. 

 

  • We believe that more than just the screen time, it is the quality of content and productive engagement that matters. Online classes are thus an important part of structured screen time.
  • Depending upon how much screen time is being allowed to our children, we need to divide the allotment accordingly. So if our children watch a 2-hour show on television, we should be aware that we have hit the screen time target for the day. Now its parent?s responsibility to decide what and how they would like to strike the balance between movie time and online learning time.
  • Even if we put restrictions on the timing, we need to analyze the effect on our children with respect to learning because productive screen time is the need of the hour. So instead of being a ?Time cop? we can be our children?s ?Media mentor?.
  • While constantly fixing our gaze on the screen will put extra pressure on eyes, online classes have the option to look back and forth from screen to notebook/book. This way our children are not constantly exposed to the screen.
  • When we talk about online learning, we also talk about the interaction between learners, the learning leaders, and their peers. This flexibility is not available when our children are using gadgets for playing games or watching a random show. We know how different levels of interactions can help out children come up with new ideas, be expressive, and collaborate more with their peers, teachers, and parents.
  • Online lessons are curated in such a way that children get enough breaks after each session. This break gives the much-required rest to their eyes. As opposed to playing games where there is no break because they don?t want to miss that level! Similarly, the blinking rate goes down when exposed to unstructured screentime time which in turn is harmful to eyes.
  • Another flexibility online learning has to offer is that it can be conducted in a desktop or laptop at an arm?s distance. Children necessarily don?t need to be glued to the screen at close proximity. So the size of the screen needs to be given equal consideration.

 

 How do we manage structured screen time?

 

  • Looking for educational resources: In a recent article by Indian express, dated July 19, 2020 emphasis has been given on how screen time can be made educational, productive, and engaging. Please click on the link to know the recommendation.
  • Setting up screen time routine: While weekdays screen time can be online and extracurricular sessions, weekends can be used for entertainment purposes, but under parental guidance and constant monitoring.
  • Socially distant yet virtually connected:

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