Desperate parent: My daughter spends all her time on TikTok. Please help.
Screen Smarts: What is she watching on TikTok?
Desperate parent: Oh, this and that… dancing videos I guess… um, all sorts.
This is one of the most frequent discussions we have with parents. Parents want to know how much screen time is acceptable at what age and how can they reduce the amount of time their children spend consuming media.
It’s like knowing your child has been to the movies but not knowing what film they saw.
REWRITE THE SCREEN NARRATIVE IN YOUR HOME
For some time, media researchers have been advocating the shift from screen time to screen content in measuring healthy digital consumption in children.
High quality content, such as learning how to play a musical instrument through an app or chatting to a family member on Skype, cannot be placed on par with playing Fortnite or binge-watching Netflix. Similarly, an hour spent socialising on WhatsApp is different to an hour spent drawing comparisons on Instagram. Children gain differently from using various forms of digital media.
We are dealing with netizens who love online learning and watching videos. We can therefor use screens to feed our children informative, educational, uplifting content instead of shallow rubbish and addictive games. This way, we might be able to rewrite the screen time narrative our homes.
THE 4Bs OF HEALTHY SCREEN TIME
How can you shift from quantity to quality screen time in your home? Screen Smarts has developed the 4 Bs of Healthy Screen Time to help you out:
Being involved in your child’s online life means watching TikTok videos with them or playing a game of Fortnite (and losing, much to their delight). Consuming the media alongside your child not only provides common ground, but it also gives you first-hand knowledge of the people they might be speaking to, the harmful content they may be exposed to and the influencers shaping their opinions.
BREAK THE BOX
Putting your own spin on something or creating something new from scratch is an imaginative outlet.
Creativity and problem-solving skills are two of the most sought-out qualities in prospective job applicants today.
Breaking the box could be anything from teaching tweens how to write simple code, to allowing your 4-year-old to collect ovals around the house, by snapping photos on your smartphone as part of a lesson in shapes.
BRING CONTEXT IN
Educating children as to the wider context around the media they are consuming can add greatly to their learning via screens. Let’s use the movie Moana as an example. Asking EQ-boosting questions such as: “How did Moana feel when…” or “Have you ever felt as angry as that?” improves their emotive vocabulary and allows them to freely express themselves in future interactions.
Additionally, the wider context of the movie can be used to teach them general knowledge. e.g., “Did you know Moana is a Pacific islander? Where is the Pacific? Show me on the map.”
As ever, we advocate a healthy balance. Ensure that everything, even healthy content, is consumed in balance with real-life activities, face-to-face interactions, time outside and exercise.
CONTENT THAT EMPOWERS
Knowing what your child is into, where their influence is coming from and who they believe to be role models gives you an eagle’s vantage point from which to make decisions regarding their media consumption.
So next time you want to place limits on the amount of screen time your child is given, consider rather placing limits on shallow screen content and being more lenient with content that empowers, enriches or educates.
|This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".
|The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".
|This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".
|This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.
|This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".