Children live online more than ever – we need better definitions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ screen time
In an article on The Conversation, University of Canterbury Associate Professors Kathryn MacCallum and Cheryl Brown explain how the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to redefine good and bad screen time and recommended hourly use for tamariki.
Credit: Giovanni Gagliardi
Even before COVID, there were concerns about screen time for children. A 2019-20 survey found four in five children were exceeding the current Ministry of Health recommendation of two hours’ recreational screen time a day. This was on top of screen time linked to learning.
With lockdowns and social restrictions now a new normal, it is increasingly difficult to disengage from screens. Children are growing up in a digital society, surrounded by a multitude of devices used for everything from social connection to learning and entertainment.
The boundaries between recreation, communication and learning are becoming less distinct. Screen time that may seem on the surface to be purely recreational can in reality be important for learning, supporting mental health and driving awareness of important issues.
YouTube, for example, can be both entertaining and educational. It is increasingly used in classes to supplement teaching. But it is also used in other ways, including to drive social change, as German star Rezo demonstrated with a viral climate change video that prompted sweeping public reforms.