During the COVID-19 crisis, around half of all people were forced into lockdown. In turn, many children were unable to go to school. However, teachers would use the internet to connect with their pupils and carry on with lesson plans.
As such, the internet has become one of the most essential tools for education. It also became critical for entertainment, play, and social interaction.
However, some parents may worry that their child spends too much time on social media and online games, especially when there is nothing else to do.
Today, we’re looking at how you make the most out of increased screen time and find the right balance with your child’s physical and mental health.
Read on for more information.
What you need to know about screen time during COVID-19
Research has shown that social media and online gaming provide valuable social engagement as a form of escapism for children.
During the COVID-19 crisis, game distributors like Steam reported a huge increase in daily users, rising from 19 million to 23.5 million in less than a month. Games like Animal Crossing and Minecraft were especially popular as they allowed children to explore virtual virtuals alone and with friends.
What are the risks?
Some research has shown that the impact of screen time on your child’s mental wellbeing is surprisingly small. Other factors like family relationships, support from parents, and negative childhood experiences are more detrimental.
A recent UNICEF report stated that some children would encounter adverse experiences online, but this is not related to how much time they spend in front of the screen.
More attention needs to be paid to what children encounter online and their home environment and support network. In fact, the right level of screen time may actually be beneficial to children.
Some parents may worry that increased screen time is responsible for physical inactivity, contributing to childhood obesity.
You may be tempted to reduce your child’s screen time and increase physical activity, but this is harder when you have to stay indoors. However, active video games and online exercise videos represent a helpful compromise.
What can you do about increased screen time?
So, how do you strike a balance between screen time, mental wellbeing, and physical activity?
There are numerous things to consider:
Regular contact with friends is important
With so much uncertainty and unpredictability surrounding COVID-19, children still need to be able to communicate and play with friends.
Video games and social media have become more important experiences during lockdowns, allowing children to connect and achieve some sense of normality when social interaction is reduced, and entertainment is limited. Regular contact with friends can help children stop being anxious and afraid.
Actively engage and manage your child’s online activity
Parents will undoubtedly have some reservations about certain video games and other online risks to their children when they use digital devices.
However, these issues can be alleviated by active parenting techniques. Talk to your children about their online activities and ensure they do not play inappropriate games for older audiences.
In addition, keep an eye on the mood when they play video games and use social media. You may want to play games with your children to ensure they are safe and stimulated.
Incorporate physical activity and screen time
Increased screen time may reduce the amount of physical activity children need to stay healthy. If your child must learn and socialize in front of their screen, you may want to incorporate exercise into the mix as well.
In 2020, the WHO recommended online classic and active video games (like Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch) to keep healthy at home. This solution is both entertaining and physically beneficial, even when social isolation ceases.
Consider parental-control apps
Parental control apps are one of the top ways to ensure your children do not get too much screen time. MMGuardian is a parental control monitoring app for iPhone and Android that allows you to monitor your child’s online activities effectively.
For example, parents can set time limits so their children can only apps during certain hours. The app can also block websites, send comprehensive reports about their messaging and browsing activity, and more.
If you want to avoid your kids spending too much time on their devices, consider installing a parental control app today.