How to Ensure Your Child’s Screen Time is Enriching Them
It’s strange to watch our kids manoeuvre their way through technology at such insane speeds, watching them flick through apps and games on iPads and phones. It can be difficult too, because there’s nostalgia from our own childhoods lurking at the seams. Romanticised images of running around barefoot, building cubby houses and sand castles. “Come on kids”, we think. “go outside and explore! Get off that device!”.
Often, it’s hard to reason with them when we try to pry the iPad from their hands. ‘It’s bad for you!’ we retort, all the while not knowing exactly why that is, when we probably spend just as much time scrolling Facebook. So what can we do to make sure the time they do spend on their device is enriching them, rather than harming them?
1. Moderation rather than abstinence
Moderation is important. Enforcing abstinence on a generation that hasn’t lived in a world without the internet doesn’t make sense to them, especially when they are surrounded by peers with their noses pressed to screens.
Moderating usage allows kids to learn the fundamentals of computers such as typing, navigation and problem solving, while ensuring they learn the skills that face-to-face communication and outdoor play gives them. One way to moderate this is through tools that help you control what your kids can see and use on their device. Activating basic security features on iPhones, downloading security apps or installing software such as
(PCs) is a good place to start.
Establishing and enforcing rules around the amount of time our kids spend on devices can help ensure that our kids are participating in activities that don’t require a screen, thus enriching the time that they do spend on screens. Some parents restrict device usage to weekends, others to evenings, some between 4 and 5 after school.
2. Introduce them to meaningful tech experiences
We want to make sure that kids are being creators as well as consumers on their devices. Whether they’re
or writing short stories or editing short films on a movie making program, the fact they are in control and creating something ignites their imagination in ways that will have a positive impact on their design thinking skills.
if you’re looking to replace or add more variety to the apps your kids are engaging with.
3. Talk to their teachers
If your child loves screen time, consider having a conversation with their teacher about whether they have any additional resources that will help their learnings at school. This can make screen time at home beneficial
help with their progression with classwork at school.
There are plenty of other resources on the internet that talk about screen time if you’re concerned. One of our favourites is
1. Get creative with Minions
What is it?
Kids go bananas for Minions (pun intended) and these school holidays they can express their fandom making a Minions movie using stop-motion animation techniques. Over 2 days, kids create their own Minions clay characters and design their own film set. The magic begins when they see their characters come to life by taking multiple images of objects and stitching them together to look like they’re moving! - It’s incredibly fun!
If they watch their favourite animated movies on repeat, they’ll love creating Minions clay figurines and developing their own story, taking lots of still frames and stitching them together to create their very first movie!
2. Become a DJ
What is it?
Children will take their first steps into the exciting world of mixing music to create their own DJ set.
Kids will love mixing their favourite pop tunes using beat matching and transitions on real DJ decks. Plus, they will design their own DJ brand, develop branded merch, and even perform a DJ set to their friends!
3. Pilot a drone
What is it?
Kids learn to pilot a drone using coding to design a flight path and watch in wonder as the drone takes flight!
If your kid shows an interest in drones, they can learn more than just the basics of flying. Kids get a taste of cutting-edge technology and learn about coding, problem-solving, engineering, design, and more. They’ll learn about drone tech and safety, movie making, and discover how drones have a positive social impact when used to fight bushfires, rescue koalas, spot sharks on the coast and loads more!
4. Become a YouTuber
What is it?
While they may not end up with YouTube stardom, we’re sure kids will have a new lens on screen time. They will be equipped with the skills to start producing and directing their own ideas instead of simply watching other people's! Plus, they’ll gain confidence ‘performing’ in front of audiences and on set and importantly, learn about staying safe online.
Taking a YouTube fixation and turning it into something incredibly productive where kids will learn planning, storytelling, filming and video editing to become the star in their very own YouTube-style videos.
5. Produce a LEGO movie
What is it?
Turn hours of playing with LEGO characters into an even more creative pursuit, by teaching kids to create their own LEGO Movie.
They can use their favourite LEGO characters and sets, come up with a fun storyline and use stop-motion techniques to produce a short animation film. It will transform the way they play at home and offer endless hours of creativity for the rest of the holidays.
6. Code a game
What is it?
Kids can design their own arcade-style video games (like Super Mario Bros), jam-packed with cool characters like zombies and unicorns, and awesome gaming features such as invisibility cloaks and shrinking potions. They’ll learn drag and drop code and logic to connect all the design elements together and bring their games to life!
Kids are spending countless hours on Roblox and Minecraft these days. Get them to spark their creative side instead, by producing their own original games, using a combination of creative level design, storytelling and problem-solving to bring their creations to life. It’s so much fun, they won’t realise they are actually learning some very important coding and tech skills for their future.