AT HOME WITH HOMER: Screen Time as Purposeful Time — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Screen Time as Purposeful Time — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Screen Time as Purposeful Time — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Kanika

Kanika: The last year has given us a new perspective on screen time. While it allowed for remote learning during a pandemic, we also have screen time fatigue — and new blue light lenses : ) — from too much of it. What are some tips, resources, and guardrails you can share regarding screen time for young learners.

Stephanie: As you mentioned, technology has saved us in so many ways this past year. We’ve been able to stay connected to the outside world — teachers, family, friends — because of our screens. Furthermore, The pandemic has accelerated the spread of laptops and learning apps in schools, they say, normalizing digital education tools for millions of teachers, students and their families.” -NYT

While those are 2 examples of beneficial screen time, we are fatigued by it and for early learnings especially, not all screen time is created equal

Kanika: So how do we as parents and caregivers determine what is good screen time?

Stephanie: For starters, recommend embracing Mindful Media. Rather than using the amount of time our kids are spending on screen as the only consideration, we came up with the P-L-A-Y Framework: a quick and easy guide to help you make smart media decisions for your children.

  • P – Purpose
    • There are so many reasons to hand your child a screen — It could be to keep them entertained, to give them an opportunity to connect with family and friends, to assist in their schoolwork, to help them wind down at night, or to keep them safely occupied while you cook dinner.
    • Whatever the purpose might be, think about whether the type of media you are putting on that device matches up with the intended purpose. For example, in the evening if you’re winding your kids down, you want to make sure the content is calming.
    • Additionally, experts estimate that 65% of kids will have jobs that don’t currently exist. So even if the purpose of giving your child a screen doesn’t have direct learning value, you can feel good that your child is learning 21st-century skills that will set them up for 21st-century jobs.
  • L – Learning Value
    • Understand the learning value: There are so many rich, entertaining apps and digital experiences that you can find for your children
    • Common Sense Media is a great resource that has done a lot of the legwork for parents—I personally found them to be a lifesaver with my kids.
  • A – Appropriateness
    • Deciding whether an app or digital experience is appropriate for your child can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are a couple of things to think about:
      • Is it appropriate for their age?
      • Will they engage with it? For example, will it make them giggle? Get up and dance? Try out a new word?
      • Is it personalized to them? Does it appeal to their individual interests and learning needs, or encourage them to look at the world in a new way?
      • Is it going to be a positive experience? Keep in mind what makes them feel confident, and what might make them feel scared or upset.
  • Y – YES!
    • Yes, you can use screens – Parents should feel empowered to use screens in a way that is mindful for themselves and for their family. They aren’t designed to ruin your child’s future, but rather when used appropriately, will give children the skills to thrive in the 21st century.

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