It‘s difficult to monitor screen time anytime but especially tough during a pandemic. Online learning, teletherapy, and normal video games and activities all add up to seemingly a lot of screen time. Dr. Mike Brooks, Ph.D. suggests in “Should You Worry About Kids’ Screen Time in This Pandemic?” that as we deal with COVID-19 screen time needn’t be a top priority.
There’s nothing like a pandemic to put our worries into perspective. Right now, many of us are scrambling to stay healthy, keep our jobs or some sort of income, pay rent, and have enough food and toilet paper. Our kids having too much screen time should be pretty far down on our list of concerns. We are in survival mode.
As restrictions begin to loosen and the weather warms, physical distancing is certain to continue. This will continue to alter the socialization of children in the months ahead. Although parents and caregivers always need to be mindful of kids’ online behavior, technology and “screen time” are going to be part of how we connect with friends, family, educators, and medical professionals for the foreseeable future. In our case, offering Occupational Telehealth in Chicago allows us to continue treatment with our families. It also allows us to extend teletherapy throughout rural communities and remote areas in Illinois.
We are eager to see our clients in person again, teletherapy is proving to be an outreach of our in-clinic treatment methods. During telehealth sessions, we encourage families to place the screen in a room with room to move and minimal outside distractions. Our goal is for the screen to fade into the background as we support the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive developmental needs of children and their families.
Dr. Brooks discusses the idea of weighing if a child’s time online is being wasted or if it is productive time. Adjustments can be made as needed. Focusing on the family’s overall well-being rather than maintaining a screen time schedule feels like a safe and healthy place to be.