“Screen time” is a buzzword right now. Between television, iPads, computers, and video games, the amount of time your kid spends staring at some sort of screen can be overwhelming. As parents, we try to put a limit on how much they get. It’s no secret that time in front of screens can be detrimental to our kids’ health and well-being.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states:
“The AAP recommends that parents establish ‘screen-free’ zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms, and by turning off the TV during dinner. Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. It is important for kids to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play.”
This information is not new. I was fully aware of this data before I had kids. I had a plan in my head for how I could offer my kids educational, positive media in small doses.
What I didn’t plan for was having to account for the media they would be exposed to at school.
Let me also be clear in saying that I love technology. I think kids should know how to navigate the media in our world today. They should know how computers work. They need to learn how to use a keyboard. Media can be wonderful, but it can also be a tool that is overused. For example, I don’t want the SMART board to read my child a story – I want the teacher to do that. I don’t want my kids playing mindless games on the computer at school. I don’t let them do that at home. Can you tell that this has hit a nerve?
My child’s teachers show videos in class. Sometimes they watch more than one in a day. I’m not sure how long they are or what the exact content is. Sometimes games are played on the SMART boards in class. Computer lab time adds to the equation, as well. Occasionally, games are played on a teacher’s iPad in class. If you add it all up, it equates to a surprisingly hefty amount.
As a former teacher and a parent, I really do not see how there is time in the day to watch videos in class. With all the standards and curriculum objectives that need to be met, I just don’t see how a teacher can justify any sort of video watching. I suppose I would make an exception for a short snippet that directly correlates with the curriculum. This shouldn’t be a regular occurrence in my humble opinion.
Like any kid, my first grader likes to play games on our iPad. I have to say that not knowing how much screen time he has already gotten that day plays into how I’m going to deal with what happens at home. It really isn’t fair to him, but it matters to me.
Do your kids watch videos at school? How much screen time are they getting and how do you accommodate that time at your house? Do you think schools should make parents aware of how much screen time is happening in class?
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