It’s one of those things that so many parents (completely understandably!) fret about – “does my child spend too much time stuck to his/her computer or phone? Wouldn’t it be better if he/she spent a bit more time outdoors? They better not still be using that iPad in bed at 11pm…”
However, with the COVID-19 crisis having forced many of us to stay indoors for prolonged periods of time with the kids, a lot of us have inevitably found ourselves abandoning our previous battles to put a lid on our little ones’ screen time.
But let’s look at this whole situation another way. Is screen time necessarily all that bad for your child? In fact, couldn’t it even be a good thing, as long as they’re doing the right things on their computers – especially as far as learning and developing new skills is concerned?
The Internet has opened up a world of wonder…
So many of us are so accustomed to the World Wide Web basically being ‘always on’, everywhere these days, that we might underestimate how fantastic it can be for teaching children to grow and develop research skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.
After all, plenty of us who’re old enough to have been around long before the era of Wi-Fi on seemingly every street will remember how laborious it was to research a particular topic for a school or university essay.
We had to pick up a physical textbook or go to the library, and neither of those sources of information offered the sheer breadth and depth that today’s online libraries, articles and other educational resources do.
…and it’s all expanded still further during lockdown
Yes, the recent restrictions on national life have been a long way from ideal for many of us – but it’s at least led to a huge number of online resources being made available for free.
We’ve seen teachers and experts, for instance, providing lessons online in such key subjects as English, maths and science. Meanwhile, many of the museums and galleries that have been forced to close their doors physically, have opened them virtually, and BBC Bitesize has been showcasing great educational content presented by role models like Sir David Attenborough and Professor Brian Cox.
The Internet has also helped to bring out kids’ own resourcefulness during this lockdown, with many learning creative and technical skills like coding, video editing and animation, making use of software like the free HitFilm Express, as well as learning resources on YouTube and elsewhere online.
Nor do children even need to be overly ‘techy’ to learn invaluable life skills on the web during this strange time. Just look at the online lessons currently being offered by music teachers, the various live ‘cooking with’ sessions on Facebook, and, of course, our own online typing courses!
You might even use screen time to engage with your child, finding out what they’re looking at and learning about, and asking them questions.
In short… don’t dismiss the value of screen time!
So, in summary, what have I been getting at in this piece? In a nutshell: yes, it’s understandable that you might not want your child to become too glued to their screens at this time when it might seem so difficult for them to do anything other than staring at a screen. But screen time can also definitely have its own value, and it’s worth investigating how you and your child can make the most of that right now.
Why not, then, do some research into what is out there on the Internet, that might also be really useful and interesting for your child – and get them to have a search, too?
The present moment could be a really great opportunity for you and your little one to explore the possibilities for learning online while enjoying some freedom from the school curriculum. And don’t forget that our own online typing courses here at Type IT! continue to be available, so there’s no need for either of you to even leave the comfort of home if you’d like to learn to touch type.
Simply get in touch with us directly today to find out how you, too, could soon learn how to “Type IT!” so much more efficiently and confidently!