The other day I heard a news report about the amount of time children and students spend in front of a screen (from TV to cell phones and computers).  It was a little surprising.  According to this post by NBC News, teens spend upwards of 9 hours a day in front of a screen!  What a little scarier is that most parents don’t even monitor what their children are doing in front of those screens, what they’re watching or what they’re playing.

And I’m as guilty as any other person.  My husband and I are gamers, so we get our fair share of screen time.  And our children do, too.  My oldest, who has Autism, actually started talking while playing video games, so we’ve seen some positive things from his screen time.  Right now he’s obsessed with dinosaurs (and Godzilla and The Gruffalo’s Child).  Technically, he’s been obsessed with those things for as long as I can remember, so his screen time is usually spent watching dinosaurs or playing dinosaur-related games.

My youngest son is completely into Star Wars right now (not “Star Wars Rebels,” mind you, the “real” Star Wars).  So, he spends time watching children play with Lego toys before he goes off to play and recreate scenes, build new ships, and hold elaborate battles that pit Star Wars heroes against fierce dinosaurs.  Never a dull moment.  And recently, we’ve been using the LeapFrog products to work on his reading (with good results).

So, although there are a lot of concerns with students watching TV, playing games, etc., it’s not all that bad, and there can be definite benefits to it.  I think the key is making sure that parents (or teachers, if the screens are used in class) are aware of what their student(s) are doing.

I was recently sent the graphic below, and I thought it did a good job of examining some of the statistics of child and teen mobile phone usage (which is probably the largest devourer of screen time for most students).  It also has some good tips for how parents and teachers can use mobile phones for good and for learning.

The Parents' Guide to Teens and Mobile Phone Use - Cell Phone City

(you can find the original post here)

Hopefully you found something that informed or inspired you.  Not all screen time is bad.  But, it is important to monitor and even direct that screen time so it’s not all “wasted” time.

What do you think about student screen time?

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