Tip of the Week

Screen Time and School - How to Measure and Monitor

"But I need the computer to do my homework!" says the kid whose parent just told them to get off the device. So how do we find balance with screen use when kids need devices to do homework, and how do we know they're really using the device to get schoolwork done?

As schools increasingly require kids to go online, use apps for practice, or collaborate on shared documents, we find ourselves stuck between screens and a hard place. Since we're keeping tabs on their "just for fun" device use, it's also OK to ask questions  about the tech they're using for school: What's it for? Why that product? How long should it take? Then, we need to set some expectations around the balance between the "must-dos" and "may-dos" of screen use. So, if there's an evening when they have to be on the computer for a while to write a paper, it might not be the night for an hour of Fortnite. Also, to avoid the sinkhole of multitasking and wasted time, it can help to have kids do homework in a public place in the home and put other screens in another room. And since even the comments in shared documents can turn into an off-task chat, having a parent nearby—and walking through the room occasionally—can help. Finally, since sleep is so important, have a set bedtime that takes precedence