Screen Time Has Jumped Up
It's no surprise that we're spending more time binging TV when we're not working from home during the pandemic. But a lack of school, summer camps and actual playdates with friends has led screen time for kids to explode.
In fact, a new study says the amount of time kids spend in front of their screen has jumped 500% during the pandemic.
The World Health Organization has already recommended tight daily limits for recommended screen time for kids: infants should get none at all, while kids between the ages of 1 and 5 should spend no more than an hour.
American kids already surpassed those limits before the pandemic.
Now, however, digital devices are serving not only as a needed distraction, but also something of a babysitter for parents working from home.
The trick for parents is preventing pandemic viewing habits from becoming permanent, says James M. Lang, Professor of English and Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College.
"If kids can kick their pandemic screen patterns, and return to the relatively healthier levels of screen time they had before, they will probably be just fine," Lang writes in an article posted to The Conversation. "The human brain is remarkably malleable. It has extraordinary potential to rewire itself in the face of accident or illness and adapt to new circumstances."
So parents, take heart: "A few months of excessive screen time won't override an otherwise healthy childhood of moderate screen time and active play," Lang adds.
Also, reaching out to friends and encouraging imaginative, screen-free activities can help flatten the curve of excessive pandemic viewing habits.