Without warning, many of us have found ourselves trying to do normal things in an abnormal way. Quarantine due to the global pandemic has moved work, school, social lives, and even grocery shopping online and into our homes.
Parents may have mixed feelings about allowing too much screen time to become a habit of home life, with some perhaps feeling guilty about all the extra screen time.
Transitioning to online learning has been difficult for teachers, parents, and students, but technology has allowed for learning to continue even in unconventional ways and in uncertain times. Many websites have educational games, shows, or project ideas that encourage children to explore new interests and continue learning outside the classroom.
Social distancing is stressful, and we all need a good distraction sometimes—especially our kids. Movies, TV shows, and games can be a great way to set aside the worries of the day and just be entertained. Further, parents have many responsibilities and allowing children some screen time for entertainment can give parents a much-needed opportunity to complete a bit of work, contact a friend or family member, or take a break.
4. Technology can help children cope with stress.
The most successful way for children to handle stress is by adapting to stress rather than trying to change it, and a global pandemic is certainly not a stressor that any child can change.
By using technology to connect, learn, and entertain, many elements of life that children may be missing can be reintroduced in new ways. As children learn to use technology to make a hard situation more comfortable, they may be better able to handle the stress we are all feeling.
Research also has found that screen time is not inherently bad – it all depends on the way we interact with screens.
For example, active screen time tends to be related to positive outcomes. When children are mentally engaged (ex. watching a documentary) or physically engaged (ex. following a yoga video on Youtube or using a touch screen), learning tends to be higher.
This does not mean that all screen time needs to be active, but if a parent is worried about how much screen time is used each day, encouraging active screen time may be a way to reduce some of this worry.