With advancements in technology screen time has become a big debate that has spilled out from individual households to the internet at large. Everyone has their own opinions on time limits and more, including the experts, who for a while, suggested strong time limits for children/teens and vigilant monitoring. Many weighed in saying that there was no to little benefit to being on line. Well, fast-forward and those opinions are changing a bit. According to the experts, there really are benefits to screen time!
Screen time improves socialization
During the pandemic, many parents noticed that their children who were less inclined to make friends in person, were doing a great job online with interactive games such as Minecraft and others.
According to Internet Matters, “technology takes away physical barriers to social connections—which is important for children who find it hard to make friends or have special interests or special needs.”
Julianna Miner, mom of three and author of Raising a Screen-Smart Kid: Embrace the Good and Avoid the Bad in the Digital Age agrees. She told Parents.com in a recent interview that, “Using social media to create and maintain friendships is great, not just for kids, but for all of us,” says Miner. “I liken it to the pen pals we’d have back in our day…”
Screen time enhances critical thinking
Not all games and such online are created equal. Some help children to learn and obtain skills while playing and they won’t even know it.
“A lot of these games won’t even feel like learning,” said to Caroline Knorr, senior parenting editor at Common Sense Media in the same interview. “But parents know time playing is time well spent with puzzles and games that challenge kids to experiment and find creative ways to solve problems.”
Miner added,“There are games that absolutely teach resilience, resource management, cooperation, strategic thinking, spatial thinking, reasoning. And all of those things are positive,” says Miner. “You try, you learn from your mistakes, you try again. That’s how you become successful at playing pretty much any game. Right?”
Screen time can promote school readiness
From games, to apps, to e-books, to digital books, etc. etc. There is a digital tool for any age group to help promote and encourage school readiness. With YouTube channels like Gracie’s Corner the learning fun just doesn’t stop.
“[If you] want to introduce digital media, [you] should choose high-quality programming/apps and use them together with [your] children, because this is how toddlers learn best,” an article on Healthy Children explains. “Co-view or co-play with your children, and find other activities for to do together that are healthy for the body and mind.”
Screen time encourages literacy and communication
Not only can screen time promote overall school readiness, it can also help to encourage literacy and communication. With access to E-books and their wide variety of libraries, children can access a treasure trove and read! In terms of communication, children have access to email, messaging apps, etc. etc. Although parents must monitor, these tools can help children communicate and express themselves like never before.
Screen time helps with the development of fine motor skills
If you have ever taken a spin on the floor with Just Dance, then you know that screen time/games help to the development of fine mother skills.
An Internet Matters report confirms that working with computers and playing video games can improve hand-eye coordination. “Interacting with computers improves both visual intelligence and hand-eye coordination.”
Nemours Children’s Health adds in a statement that, “Playing video games can improve motor skills.”
There you have it…according to the experts, there really are benefits to screen time! However, there must be a balance that parents should institute and of course, age-appropriate time limits should be a part of that as well. Other than that, game-on! And parents, while the kids are in their world, sit back, relax, and enjoy some you time.