ATLANTA — Not too long ago, the only concern parents had with kids being on their phones or computers was telling them not to do it or find something else to do in their free time.
Now, many of those same kids not only are spending time playing games, watching videos, surfing the Internet or posting on social media, they’re having to sit in front of a computer screen all day long for school.
Channel 2 News Anchor Jorge Estevez spoke to a psychologist who says the need to balance time in front of and off a computer screen is more important now than it has ever been.
“We have to strike a balance. We have to remember that online learning is different from video game playing, so our children have to be able to be in front of a screen for at least two to three, maybe even four hours a day. What we really want to make sure of is that we are taking frequent breaks for our younger children, let them work for 20 minutes, take a 10 minute break. Our older children are able to focus attention a little bit longer but they too need a break from screen time as well during the course of the day,” said Dr. Rosalyn Pitts Clark.
Dr. Clark says parents should be aware not all screen time is the same.
“Well, screen time is not equal screen time. So there’s a big difference in the academic screen time versus video game playing or surfing the internet screen time. So, during this particular time because we’re in unprecedented times, we want to focus on the academic screen time, and we want to separate that out from the play screen time. So we want to make sure our children are focused and engaged academically, but we do want to set limits, with the non academic fun of screen time,” she added.
Dr. Clark also thinks between virtual learning and time idly spent on the computer, families should designate a chunk of time with no screens.
“Shut it off. I really think that at a certain time of the day, maybe six seven o’clock, it’s no tech time. So we turn the screens off, we have family time we have dinner time we read books we go out for a walk. When the weather’s cooling off, we play board games, but we definitely put away the screen time by six o’clock, seven o’clock at the latest so we can prepare ourselves for nighttime for bed for the next day,” explained Clark.
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