“The only contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.”
With experts advising parents to reduce the screen time of kids to only a few hours depending on their age, to the students across the country learning at home due to the pandemic has increased the screen time by 50%. Students have transitioned to distance learning and social distancing. A number of challenges have been posed for the parents to monitor their child’s screen time and recreational use of devices.
It is important to understand that all screen time isn’t bad until and unless you know your child, the content your child is engaging in and the context of media use. The problem lies in screens replacing positive activities like exercising, socializing and proper sleep.
It is a fact that parents will have to adjust and adapt with today’s reality.
A healthy balance of screen time can be maintained during this pandemic with several small steps to keep children active and stimulated and limiting excessive screen time.
- Building an eye-healthy lifestyle at home
Set clear rules and limits to screen time supporting only educational use while limiting Television and playing games. Children can be encouraged for outdoor activities while maintaining social distancing. Some recommendations for eye health includes –
- Taking 20 seconds break after every 20 minutes.
- Set a timer to remind of breaks.
- Keep the device at least 18 to 24 inches away from the eyes.
With regular monitoring , parents can make sure that their children have an eye-healthy lifestyle.
- Hands –On activities
Providing hands-on assignments is a great way to limit screen time and stimulate learning in other ways as too much of screen time can mentally drain a child.
- Set limits
A good goal is three to hours of online learning combined with an hour of recreational screen time. Apart from this, children can be encouraged to go out while maintaining social distancing, walk the dog etc. Offline playtime can stimulate creativity giving the eyes a much-needed break.
- Model Good Behavior
As parents act as role models for their children, its important to limit your own screen time. Spending time and taking an interest in what children are learning and watching is good for their long- term sense of self-esteem.
- Create digital-free areas
Keeping family dinners and events free of screens can help in understanding the relationship better. The overload of news and media can be overlooked. Focusing quality time can help ensure a healthy lifestyle for the children.
Screens have become more encapsulated in our daily lives than even before. Continuing to learn online, talking about the screen hangovers, focusing on the quality of screen time, setting up realistic rules and keeping up an active lifestyle can reinforce the growth and development of the children.
Adapting with the “new normal “ and children continuing to learn in the virtual platform has put up many questions in the parents’ minds regarding the screen time. The Student Council of JBM Global School Noida, on 5 September 2020 held a webinar with one of the best ophthalmologists in Delhi, Dr. Neeraj Chadha who gave the parents and students an insight about the myths, how to keep up good eye health and tips to monitor the screen time. Dr. Chadha had put up his best solutions by answering the questions of the students and parents regarding vision, regular check ups and how he advised good diet, exercise, regular routine and breaks with continuous monitoring of the parents can play a good role in keeping their child’s eyes healthy.