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Reevaluating screen time in an age of social distancing [Infographic|

Participating in a video call with friends or family is another way to use screens effectively, as is an online school or online activities.

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Image: UBREAKIFIX

One of the scariest things about this pandemic is that 85% of parents believe their kids will be addicted to screens by the end of it. We are using screens for everything from school to communication with loved ones, and conventional wisdom would have you believe that prolonged exposure to a stimulus will eventually lead to addiction. Fortunately, that’s not really how addiction works, and these tools can all be used responsibly as a stopgap measure during the pandemic.

In order to use screens appropriately, ensure they are kept out of bedrooms so they don’t disrupt sleep cycles or lead to inappropriate media use. Use parental controls to help with this and to keep kids off screens at inappropriate times or from accessing inappropriate materials. Talk with your kids about what they see and do online to ensure they understand the context of why extra screen time is appropriate right now.

Quality of screen time is much more important than the quantity of screen time any time, but that has never been more accurate than it is now. Screens are needed to have video chats with friends, to learn new skills or hobbies, and to attend schools and clubs virtually. The bulk of the screen time kids are experiencing right now is enhancing their lives instead of being a detriment.

Active participation is the key to high-quality screen time. Playing video games or even watching an instructional video on YouTube about how to play a video game are examples of active participation in recreational activities online. Watching a video to learn a new hobby, such as how to bake a cake, is a great example of using screen time wisely.

Participating in a video call with friends or family is another way to use screens effectively, as is an online school or online activities. The presence of a screen doesn’t negate the effects of learning or participating in an activity, though it can be frustrating to not be able to be there in person. Learn more about why we should reevaluate screen time below.

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