From notices claiming “electronic devices are not permitted inside school premises and will be confiscated if found” to classes completely shifted online – Indian schools have come a long way in just a few months .
Our education system that had headed towards using technology in the classroom has suddenly found itself on a roller coaster heading straight towards remote learning due to the current pandemic.
This transition has not been easy for the parents. Almost overnight, they had to master the edtech platforms and tools recommended by their child’s school, so that their children could continue learning at home. Now that they’ve gotten into the groove, they face another dilemma: how much screen time is too much for their child?
As more and more screens become part of our daily lives, trying to limit the increase in screen time for children seems like a futile battle. That said, concerns about screen time are legitimate and existed even before Covid-19.
The only difference is that we’re at a point where these screens are where we work, learn, play, and probably the only window we’ll have to the outside world for the next few months. So the first thing parents need to do is accept that these screens are part of their children’s lives. Their goal should be to develop best practices and help their children stick to them.
What does the research say?
The World Health Organization recommends against using digital media for children under 2 other than video calls with family. Children 2-5 years old may be entitled to up to one hour of elevated programming per day, but parents should be included. So not only does it act as screen time, but also family bonding time.
The guidelines for school-aged children and adolescents, however, are not so clearly defined. There are no duration-based recommendations and it’s up to parents to decide the ideal screen time for their child’s lifestyle.
What can parents do?
Parents often find it hard to impose a screen time limit because kids just aren’t listening. A great way around this is to lead by example – create a clear boundary between your work and downtime. Whether you’re working from home or just got home from the office, resist the urge to watch TV or surf Instagram.
Unplug and spend time with your child – play board games, cook together or read books. This will ensure that your child does not associate their free time with their online usage.
Parents should also take certain precautions when their children are online, especially young children between the ages of 3 and 11. Always check the sites or apps your child accesses. Is the content age appropriate? Is it possible they accidentally click on something they shouldn’t see?
Try out the game or site yourself before giving it to them. Become a co-player whenever possible.
For older children, it’s a bit trickier. They don’t want to be treated like kids anymore and controlling them too much will only lead them to hook up without telling anyone. The best thing to do is to have them create a schedule for themselves where they decide how much screen time they want each day. Once they create one, they have to stick with it.
Create an overlap between fun and learning
One of the biggest things we often overlook when talking about screen time is content quality – watching a cute cat video doesn’t equal playing an educational game.
Now that kids are learning remotely, instead of dividing screen time between learning and playing, parents should focus on making all screen time meaningful for their kids by creating overlaps between their time. of study and their playing time.
Game-based learning, documentaries, read-aloud story videos are all great examples of both fun and educational media.
These times have been difficult for us and our children. With restricted physical and social activities, children need a creative outlet for all their pent up energy. Parents need to be creative and create an environment of comfort, fun and learning for their children at home.
Article by Umang Jain, co-founder of SplashLearn
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