Last week was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of reasons for minimal screen time, but there are wonderful benefits for the screen time that we do allow. As with most things in life, the benefits increase the more proactive we are about them. The internet brings infinite opportunities for research and learning to our fingertips.
There is a wealth of informative videos (informally on sites like YouTube or formally on something like Khan Academy) that we can use to teach kids. The opportunities are mind-boggling. From how car engines work to what happens when you drop a ping pong ball three stories into a pool, this is all content that can support curiosity and learning.
Watching a show or movie with your child and discussing it together is a completely different cognitive experience for a child than watching something alone. Such shows provide great content for discussing your values, social situations, and decision making.
Apps and websites can make rote drills more fun — typing programs, math facts, names of countries/capitals, etc. through websites like JetPunk, Sheppard Software or Quizlet.
Connecting with friends and family is amazing (this just needs to be supervised and limited with kids).
There are options to organize kids who aren’t naturally organized (take pictures of assignments, homework apps, Google Docs).
And there are great coding practices for kids headed into STEM. The list goes on and on.
Back to my dessert metaphor: there is SO much good and joy and, better than dessert, really constructive uses of screen time. We don’t need to stay out of the candy store, we just need guidelines about how much we’re going to eat and how long we’re going to be in there (and who’s going to enforce that).