Monthly archives "December 2014"

The Benefits of Screen Time for Children

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Everyone agrees that too much screen time is not healthy for children. Yet so many of us let our kids be in front of a screen for hours. Many won’t even admit to┬áit; thinking that denying kids screen time would make them a better parent. I don’t deny and don’t make excuses. My children receive a fair amount of screen time and I’m ok with it. Would I prefer if they entertained themselves by reading books only? Probably. But since that’s not the case, and I suspect it isn’t for most children, I contend with the screen time they receive.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think letting kids watch TV passively for hours on end is a good thing. But there is screen time and screen time. Watching TV passively is not the same as playing a video game or communicating with friends on Facetime or Skype. Some kids also do their homework on a screen. Many would put all that in the same “screen time” category. But there are differences. And as long as they are all done in moderation, I think it is OK to let children, even at a very young age, have some screen time.
My kids are given an Ipad at school. From their tween years they get used to doing so much on a their Ipad. Homework at home, school work during class, communicating with teachers and each other.
I hear parents talk about the time limit they put on their children’s screen time. That’s important and surely makes people fee like responsible parents. But how about making the issue quality and not just quantity? Knowing what they are watching on TV, doing on their tablets, which video games they are playing is more important then limiting screen time, which is not all that useful when more and more homework, papers, book reports need to be submitted digitally.
Video games not only help children’s hand/eye coordination, but they teach them to search, negotiate, strategize and problem solve.
Using a tablet for school work has been shown to be so beneficial to many children. It encourages the quieter children to “raise their hand” digitally when the in class answer is expected digitally. It helps the rather disorganized child be more structured by placing items in different folders.
As long as we choose our children’s digital intake wisely, I believe that with the changing times, it is more beneficial to let them have the screen time then to deny it.