If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a hundred times as a parent: screen time is bad for kids. You worry about it — especially in this digital world. How much screen time is good for them? At what point do you limit them? And in this society, where kids play games and watch videos for fun while using the computer for schoolwork, it can be challenging to know where to draw the line.
The pandemic has further complicated things. Some kids still spend all day in remote classes for school, and some kids use Zoom and Facetime to talk to friends and relatives safely. Can that sort of screen time be bad for them? And how bad is screen time really?
There are no easy answers — but there are guidelines
The short answer when it comes to screen time is: it depends.
While The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers guidelines for screen time for small children, there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for screen time for older kids and teens. Families have different lives and children have different needs when it comes to screen time. Some kids do well with lots of screen time and others get Zoom fatigue. Instead, the AAP suggests that families focus on building healthy habits — having family time, designated non-screen time, and time set aside for outdoor play and adequate sleep.
When it comes to screen time, the AAP suggests that parents work together with their doctors to come up with a media plan that will work for the child and family.
This can feel complicated; media and screens are everywhere, after all. How can you make sure your kid is getting the right amount of screen time for their needs?
A child’s media diet is like their regular diet
It might help to think of screen time in terms of food. Every parent knows that while it’s not great for a child to be eating constantly, children do need to eat regularly. They should also be eating foods that are healthy for them. A little bit of junk food is fine, but most of a child’s diet should be made up of foods that are good for them, like vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins.
It’s the same for screen time. Educational programming — like classes, educational television shows, or school taught remotely are like vegetables. So is interaction with trusted family and friends, which children need, especially if they live far from those loved ones or are isolated from them for other reasons.
Entertainment is like junk food. Cartoons, princess movies, video games and time spent on TikTok are like sweets — it’s not a bad thing to have some entertainment in a kid’s media diet, but kids should definitely not have unrestricted access to this sort of screen time. (You wouldn’t let them have unlimited candy, so of course, they shouldn’t have unlimited YouTube videos!)
The trick is making sure kids get plenty of good screen time that helps them connect with others and increase their skills, and some fun screen time.
How can Tekkie Uni help?
Tekkie Uni offers kids the right sort of screen time. In our classes, kids learn to code, build games and apps, and make their own YouTube videos and animations — all skills that help them become digital creators instead of digital consumers.
Our classes are taught live by expert instructors, who encourage kids to think critically about their work, log into class on their own, and plan and create projects that challenge them. It’s a fun, supportive atmosphere. Your child will attend classes with several other children, learn to debug their own apps, and gain math and science skills while having fun and playing games.
When it comes to screen time, we feed kids their vegetables — and they love it. Sign up for two free classes today.