Easy ways to add value to your child’s screen time
The millennial population and iGen are accustomed to screen time and devices more than any generation before them. They use it for social networking, sharing notes, learning, playing and much more. If there is an activity a child could spend time on in the real world, there is definitely an online version of it. The average child today is more informed, mature and tech savvy. After all, they will be living in a world they are bound to share with AI, robots and intelligent devices. There are disadvantages to the digital exposure too. It comes in the form of shorter attention spans, irritability & boredom, elusiveness and a general lack of imagination. The first instinct of a child today, when faced with a problem that needs a solution, is to look for it on Google. This may or may not be alarming, but with virtual education here to stay for quite some time now, it is very important to understand screen time, and optimize it for their own good.
Active screen time vs passive screen time:
Not all screen time is bad, and not all of it is equal. We cannot count school work or home work as entertainment or socializing. This brings us to the very important distinction between active screen time and passive screen time. There is a huge difference between a child looking at runs and reruns of someone playing Mine craft on YouTube, and solving a maze online. Passive screen time includes watching TV or playing games that don’t require thinking or any form of cognitive/physical activity. On the other hand active screen time means the child is more involved, requires action in some form from the viewer and is good for cognitive development or positive behavior building. Understanding this difference, and consciously involving the child in more active screen time will have a better and more obvious result.
Interactive screen activities
Some of the Best online education platform for students offer interactive sessions that are not just informative, but fun and engaging. Educative Science and Math platforms, where the child’s interest in the world in general is piqued, virtual tours of museums and places, or quizzes that involve searching and making notes are all constructive activities that help
A screen pact
There are tools and apps to manage screen time with parental controls, but they are exactly that – tools. Often these may seem imposing and harrowing, with flared tempers and tantrums that follow. Entering a screen pact with the child is a great way to tackle this. That way, you are giving the child control of their time and making them responsible for it. You reach a mutually agreeable time, and stick to that. This is a more rational, disciplined approach to going cold turkey, guilt tripping, scaring or pulling away the device, especially from younger children.
Provide engaging alternatives
So you have restricted screen time. Devices are banned. What next? If you don’t provide alternatives to screen time, chances are the child would end up being fussy and angry which is definitely not the idea behind reduced screen time. Introduce concepts to the child offline, followed by online activities which will make the child curious and more interested. Bake a batch of cookies, explain heat transfer, and follow it up with content on it from one of the many Online learning programs for K6 to K12 students.
Dynamic social learning
Social learning is the most accessible form of learning. Experiential learning is great, but we cannot expect it at all times for everything. Social learning is slower, but easier and definitely there. Everyone learns something from observing others, whether it is in real time, or online – mimicking behaviors, and observations of the pros and cons. More complex concepts like chemistry or calculus could be made innovative, taught through dynamic social learning concepts. Harness the power of tech here, and let the student learn them on Learning Resources for School students available on the internet.
As parents, elders and caregivers, we are conditioned to worry. But there is good news. Just relax, and re-evaluate how you look at screen time. Content consumption is not bad, mindless consumption of useless content is. Just put on your thinking hat, set some guidelines and remember that balance is the key. Playing games online is totally okay, but is even better when you learn something through it. Discuss and do a roundup with the child at the end of the day. There is always something to learn from everything – even if it is a new word, a tune or a physics concept.
Screens are here to stay and have become part of our lives. Whether we love it or hate it, we cannot ignore it. Calling TV the idiot box may have worked a generation ago, but now – nah! It is how we interact and utilize the screen that matters. Use it to your advantage, and it could be a great partner. Learning Resources Schools for School students, educational digital games, online quizzes and worksheets, the options are endless.