It's increasingly becoming more difficult for parents to manage their children's screen time during the lockdown. However, optometrists say parents must always intervene and not allow their kids to spend the entire day in front of the screens.
According to the College of Optometrists in London, U.K, prolonged screen time increases the risk of developing short-sightedness, or myopia.
"If you can keep that time down, it's beneficial to your eyes," optician Rhodri Williams said. "There's less of a risk of children developing short-sightedness if they spend a lot of time outside."
Given that nearly all of us are prohibited from going outside, our options for alternative activities are limited. Still, parents can turn to the conventional ways of entertaining kids, such as doing arts and crafts, drawing, reading, and playing. Use these activities as games in which screen time can be given as a reward instead.
It's also healthy to talk to your kids about the current situation, especially if they've been allowed an increased screen time already. Educate them about the coronavirus crisis and stay-at-home orders, which has caused increased use of TV, laptops, and tablets since we're not allowed to go outside. Remind them and make them understand that this is all temporary and that things will change once the pandemic is over.
While limits are still important, it's understandable that under these stressful circumstances, kids' screen media use will likely increase. Here are some ways to help keep media use positive and helpful:
Use Media Together
This is the best way to monitor what your children are doing online and for you to catch up on what's currently viral. You can also use this time to watch movies together and discuss it afterward. As a parent, this activity brings about relaxation as well.
Choose Quality Content
Watch something that will give you something in return. Granted, you have a lot of free time, but this doesn't mean all that free time should be wasted on useless content. You can still watch fun videos and play video games, but know beforehand if it's safe for children to watch before binging.
Use Screen Time For Social Connection
Quarantining has got most of us bored and lonely, even when you're around with family. Children, most especially, are affected since they are missing out on activities that will help them become well-rounded individuals in the future. With technology, allow your kids to talk to their friends using video platforms, so they don't lose their social connection.