Will Your Child Break Up With the Screen Post Pandemic?
What does the post-pandemic scenario look like for our children? Read about the learnings from the Club1BR Screen-Time Webinar here.
The simple answer is, no. Nope, nada.
However, it's most likely that children will get back to their normal routine of screen time post the pandemic, said a hopeful Roshan Gandhi during our recent webinar. Mr. Gandhi, the CEO of City Montessori School, Lucknow, said that it's probable that a child will start spending 1.5-2 hours on any screen, once physical school starts.
"Being together in person is the natural order of things," said Mr. Gandhi. It's something that comes seamlessly to us, and something we've been yearning for over the past 1.5 years. He believes students and parents will transition quite easily to the physical school system when the time comes, and have a healthier relationship with the screen. He doesn't anticipate longterm or fundamental issues with moving from Zoom school to real school.
Aditi Mehta, Academic Director at Stones2Milestones, offered an interesting perspective too. She said, "Fatigue is the norm." It will happen even in classrooms, playrooms and lack of variety in daily activities. "Screen time is the way to counter this."
But Screen Time Is No Incentive
Mr. Gandhi spoke about his childhood, growing up in the UK. During his summer break, his parents had a creative way of ensuring he had productive days. They built a schedule for him which listed different activities. One of them was screen time, or spending time with a device or watching the TV. It was sneaked into his schedule as a normal, regular activity - like buying milk from a grocery store, or reading a book.
"Game time or social media time as an incentive for good behaviour sets the wrong motivations [in children]," said Mr. Gandhi. The intent behind most good action then is set only be the expected reward. Children can't view screen time as a gift or prize. The more we normalise it, the healthier it will be.
As Aditi said, "Children are intuitive and smart. We have to stop using screen time as a reward or punishment for them." So then how do we decide how much screen time is good, or what children should be doing online, if it's just another normal activity? "A new problem needs new ideas and initiatives from our side," said Aditi. The answer is simple - we need to speak to our kids and decide on this together! "Having honest conversation about things we don’t know as adults is difficult for us. Children may have solutions and suggestions we've never thought of," said Aditi.
As we look at a digitally healthier future post the pandemic, it's important to remember the ways to achieve that:
Balance: Achieving the right mix of the three C's of screen time - Consumption, Communication and Creation. Read more about these here.
Conversation: An open conversation with your children about the duration of screen time, as well as defining how they will be spending that time.
Schedule: Normalising screen time and making it a small part of your child's everyday routine.
So, that's that. Your child isn't going to break up with the screen post pandemic. But that's okay. A healthier relationship can still be achieved!
This article is a three part series based on the Club1BR Webinar on Screen-Time.