Screen time is difficult to monitor during a pandemic. Combining online learning, online therapy, and virtual activities with kids’ normal social media usage of Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc., it adds up to a lot of face to screen time. In “Should You Worry About Kids’ Screen Time in This Pandemic?” by Mike Brooks, Ph.D., he discusses COVID-19 and how the stresses that have come along with it have changed the priority of screen time. Although, parents and caregivers always need to be mindful of kids’ online behavior.
There’s nothing like a pandemic to put our worries into perspective. Right now, many of us are scrambling to stay healthy, keep our jobs or some sort of income, pay rent, and have enough food and toilet paper. Our kids having too much screen time should be pretty far down on our list of concerns. We are in survival mode.
As the weather warms and restrictions begin to loosen, physical distancing is certain to alter the socialization habits of children in the months ahead. Technology and “screen time” will continue to connect friends, family, educators, and medical professionals for the foreseeable future. In our case, Occupational telehealth in Omaha allows us to continue treatment with our clinic families and extend teletherapy throughout Nebraska and Iowa.
While we are eager to see our clients in person again, teletherapy has proven to be an effective method of treatment. We encourage our families to place the screen in a room with minimal distractions and room to move. The goal is that the screen itself fades into the background as we connect and support the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive developmental needs of children and their families.
If you are concerned about your child’s screen time, we like Dr. Brooks’s idea of weighing if their time online is being wasted online or if it productive time and adjust accordingly. Above all, staying focused on the family’s overall well-being rather than sticking to a strict screen time schedule feels like a healthy place to be.