Too Much Screen Time with Distance Learning?
Las Vegas Montessori Middle School

Is it Possible to Manage Screen Time for Our Kids During Distance Learning?

Best Las Vegas Montessori Middle School | Distance Learning COVID

We are just a few months away from a year’s worth of COVID craziness, and for most of us, a year of distance learning. While COVID has certainly challenged us all in many ways, one big issue for families is managing “distance education” for their children. With most schools unable to offer in-person learning models during COVID, schools have had to pivot. Many schools have worked rapidly to provide an online education.

What Does Distance Learning Look Like?

In order to provide children an education, schools have had to move a bulk of their instruction to an online format. This has been successfully accomplished through video conferencing like ZOOM, and through tools like Google Classroom. Some of the lesson is done via live video, and some of it is done by the students on their own. Online instruction can range from 2-5 hours, with additional computer based assignments during independent learning. This can put screen time, just for school, easily upwards of 5 hours even for elementary aged kids.

While there may be a debate as to the effectiveness of a distance education, what can’t be debated is that this has resulted in a lot of extra screen time for kids.

Is Screen Time Bad?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, screens can have a negative impact on children. It can disrupt sleep patterns, create habits that contribute to obesity, and expose them to content and images that may not be age appropriate. Additionally, early data from a landmark National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that began in 2018 have some significant findings.

National Institutes of Health Screen Findings

  • children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests
  • some children with more than seven hours a day of screen time experienced thinning of the brain’s cortex, the area of the brain related to critical thinking and reasoning

Most experts would agree that excessive screen time can have harmful effects in children. However, are there any benefits to screens though? Of course! They provide a platform for information, and connect people like never before.

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YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT SCREEN TIME RESEARCH RIGHT HERE!!

Ultimately, it comes down to proper management, balance, and supervision of screens. So, now that screens have become essential for education, how can we manage screen time?

Challenge Your Kids to Find Screen Alternatives

Screen use for education is necessary and beneficial in these times. However, it is still important to find ways to balance it out. The most important thing you can do is to challenge your kids to find non-screen related activities outside of distance learning times. We realize that for many kids pre-COVID, screen time was down time. Screens were used for recreation, like watching a show or playing video games. Now that screens have become necessary, kids should find other recreational activities that don’t include screens.

Even during COVID restrictions, it is still possible to find new activities. These things are simple and fun, but your kids may just need a little “push” to get them to replace their “recreational screen time”.

NON-SCREEN ACTIVITIES

  • ride a bike, skateboard, or scooter!
  • take up a new sport, like basketball
  • paint with Bob Ross
  • go on hikes
  • find a new park to play at
  • go fishing
  • take up an instrument
  • build an outdoor fort
  • plant a garden

This list is really basic, but sometimes that is what we need…to go back to basics. Parents, you can facilitate a lot of this just by getting some equipment, and setting a new expectation. With so much time dedicated to screens just for their education, it will only benefit them to get away from screens whenever they can. Maybe save recreational screen time for just the weekend, with new limits. Hopefully things will start to progress back towards “normal” this year for all of us. However, in the mean time, we believe that even if they resist a little at first, your children will come to love all the non-screen adventures they discover!

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Best Las Vegas Montessori Middle School | Distance Learning COVID