In today’s world it is impossible to completely prevent use of screens – in the form on TV, tablets or mobiles etc. Our work, leisure, daily chores, finances, shopping and social life to a large extent entails use of screens.
In today’s world it is impossible to completely prevent use of screens – in the form on TV, tablets or mobiles etc. Our work, leisure, daily chores, finances, shopping and social life to a large extent entails use of screens. Thus it has become increasingly difficult for parents to completely remove screens from lives of their children as well. The pandemic and lockdowns increased this dependence even further. Work from home for parents was done in front of screens and often engaging young children during this time also necessitated that they get some kid TV show time. For older school going children screens became a necessity for schooling. They ended up spending long hours on laptops to keep up with their learning. Thus the screens have become unavoidable now. However there are ways that parents can use them smartly and effectively for their children.
- Moderation is the key. Parents should have clear boundaries on how long the children should use laptops or tablets. Now most schools are offline so parents can limit the use of screens to their homework and perhaps some leisure.
- The content is critical. Parents must monitor the information that kids are being exposed to. They must completely block harmful content with violence, explicit content, misleading information etc. This is especially true for younger kids but also for older kids.
- For social media parents must be mindful that children are not being exposed to dangerous strangers on the Internet and that they are not at the risk of being scammed or abused.
- Parents must also actively seek out educational and informative content. There is excellent content on the Internet for children of all ages. Science videos, documentaries, story readings, craft and DIY videos. There are resources to learn languages, learn about space, different cultures, travelogues etc.
- Tablets and laptops are also being used by many schools for projects and research and parents and teachers can guide students on effective use of Internet for the same.
- Finally, for older children parents must train them to recognize harmful content, make them aware of the misuse and the dark side of the web and enable them to differentiate good content from bad content.
When used effectively, with parental/teacher supervision and guidance screens don’t have to be completely prohibited. They can become a good learning and entertainment resource.
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