By Jane Marsh
School closures following COVID-19 mean kids are spending more time on screens than ever before. While distance learning is a good solution for consistent schooling, parents may be concerned about the additional screen time and how they can help their children maintain healthy digital boundaries.
Fortunately, you can take concrete steps to preserve your children’s health and teach them to use technology responsibly while schooling online. Here are 10 tips for helping kids balance their tech use for education.
1. Remember the Goal
Technology can easily become an end in itself – for instance, many people use it primarily for entertainment. However, tech in education is meant to be a tool that helps kids work toward a specific goal. Remind your children that their educational technology has a purpose, and keep them focused on using it only for that reason. Using it only for the purpose intended will also cut down on wasted energy.
2. Take Frequent Breaks
Human beings are not wired to sit still all day. While it may feel counterintuitive, taking breaks can actually increase focus. Time off will help your kids learn more and protect their energy for later in the day. Take advantage of the natural breaks in your children’s school day to have them get up and move.
Take advantage of the natural breaks in your children’s school day to have them get up and move.
3. Protect Their Eyes
Eyestrain and headaches are common side effects of increased screen time. Consider investing in blue-light glasses to protect your kids’ eyes, and make sure their workspace is properly lighted. Computers that are backlit or too bright can be especially tiring on the eyes.
4. Have a Cut-Off Time
Evidence suggests that exposure to screens late in the day can interfere with melatonin and getting a good night’s sleep. Help your children sleep well and wake up refreshed by setting a cut-off time for when the screens must go off. According to the research, earlier is better.
5. Try a Hybrid Model
Some schools are responding to ongoing COVID concerns by merging remote and on-site learning. This hybrid educational model equips students and teachers for lessons at home and prioritises classroom time to help kids stay engaged. The hybrid model can be particularly effective, as schools are ideally set up to facilitate learning and many now have protective sanitation measure against COVID-19. This model may be the perfect solution for reducing your children’s screen time.