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The Five C’s to Follow When Monitoring Your Child’s Screen Time

Not all screen time is created equal for kids and teens. As digital devices have swiftly displaced classrooms, playgrounds, and playdates, here are 5 practical tips from experts in digital media, parenting, and pediatrics to help parents navigate the daily screen time dilemma.

A child using a tablet.

For parents that may be feeling guilty about the amount of time their kids are spending on digital devices during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent New York Academy of Sciences panel convened experts in pediatrics, education, and digital media to weigh in on how best to use digital media in balance as a family, find quality content, set expectations around healthy use, and protect kids’ physical and mental health.

To optimize your child’s screen time, experts encourage parents to consider these five C’s:

1.  Content

Engagement with high quality content that stokes kids’ curiosity, builds new skills, fuels the imagination, and avoids conflict situations, is more critical than the overall quantity of screen time.

2.  Context

Don’t think of virtual school classes and video chats with remote family members as generic ‘screen time’. Reframe this as valuable ‘education time’ and ‘family time’. Experts also encourage co-viewing of media – the use of digital media with other family members – over solitary use.

3.  Connection

It’s important that kids are connecting on a personal level while watching, reading or playing on a digital device. Are they engrossed, enlightened, or engaged in critical and strategic thinking?

4.  Creativity

Does the medium allow your child to create new content – be it new art, photography, songs, or video? Creativity affords kids more ownership of their digital learning experience.

5.  Conversation

While parents cannot participate in every moment of their child’s digital experience, they can ask their children about their experience after the fact. Follow-up with your child at dinner time or bedtime and have them tell you what you – as a parent – missed in the most recent episode or game of what your child watched or played.

Finally, the experts reinforced that only you can know what activities create meaning for your family, support your family’s goals, and help family members cope during challenging times.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.


Author

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Brooke Grindlinger, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Brooke Grindlinger is a microbiologist and Chief Scientific Officer at the esteemed New York Academy of Sciences, one of the oldest scientific organizations in the United States. Dedicated to amplifying the positive impact of science on people and our planet, she leads the development, growth, and excellence of scientific aspects of the Academy’s portfolio of programs, products, and initiatives—spanning scientific and educational convenings and courses, fellowship and prize programs, and public-private partnerships across the life and physical sciences, the social sciences, nutrition, artificial intelligence, computer science, and sustainability.



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