Even though we are all aware of the dangers of screen time for our kids, it’s important to know there are actually some benefits too. With phones, computers and tablets not going anywhere anytime soon, it’s not only crucial for parents to focus on cultivating healthy behaviours for using digital devices but to also be more aware of some of the positive effects media use can have. In fact, with many recent studies finding the amount of time spent using digital technology has no direct influence on well-being, screen time in moderation might not always be so bad for your children.
Builds Communication and Social Skills
Many kids see using technology, whether that’s playing video games with friends or sending WhatsApp messages as a social activity rather than something they sit and do alone. In fact, lots of activities that kids get involved in on a screen require constant communication, which can result in meaningful friendships being formed and the creation of communities. Being part of a team and making new friends online is a great way for teaching kids important communication and social skills which over time can help improve levels of confidence and self-esteem. It’s also been found that technology can help remove physical barriers to social connections, which is important for children who may find it hard to make friends or have more specific interests.
Another benefit of screen time and using the internet is that it helps children develop research skills that are essential for their learning. For example, knowing how to use search engines effectively is a valuable skill, teaching children to explore and navigate online, analyse the reliability of what they find, and get deeper into the subject they’re researching. There are also huge opportunities for children to develop their computer coding skills, which is now an important part of the national curriculum. In fact, when a screen is used as a tool to create something new or learn something, the benefits can often outweigh the negatives.
Improves Literacy Skills
Even though it may seem strange to suggest that screens can help improve literacy skills, it’s in fact true! Kindles and utilising E-books is a fantastic resource to help children improve reading proficiency and also gives them access to a library far bigger than the one they have at home. Other screen time activities such as texting or writing captions on social media posts can actually help children with their reading and spelling. Other apps such as Word, Google Docs, emails and notes encourage communication too.
When taking part in screen time activities that involve playing video games, taking photos or creating videos, it actually gives kids the perfect opportunity for self-expression and creativity. For example, some video games allow children to design their own worlds and characters which teaches them to be creative without limits. Apps such as Instagram and TikTok encourage quirky short videos that can be incredibly fun and enjoyable for children to make, not to mention encourages them to get creative with friends and family too!
Here are some links to some interesting blog posts which can help you decide how to implement screen time in your household.