We all hear about screen time and kids and how some kids spend too much time on their devices. But, not all screen time has to be a bad thing. There is such a thing as active screen time versus passive screen time. As the names suggest, active screen time allows kids to actually do something while spending time on their screens.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many kids got used to spending more time in front of their screens. Studies show that screen time for kids has nearly doubled since the pandemic began in 2019. This has parents taking a closer look at screen time and its effects on their children.
We’re going to take a closer look at the differences between the two as well as how active screen time may be good for kids.
What is Passive Screen Time?
If your child has a lot of passive screen time, they’re spending time sitting in front of a device or a screen. Whether they’re watching a TV show or watching a movie, there’s not much going on besides just sitting in front of the screen.
While kids may find this relaxing and entertaining, too much of it can be harmful. Studies have shown that too much passive screen time can impact a child’s school performance, including math and language skills. This is not to say that kids can’t enjoy watching their favorite TV show or movie, but binging in front of the screen for hours at a time may not be the best idea.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 spend 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment with 4.5 hours spent watching TV. When you add it all up, kids are watching 114 full days of just watching a screen for fun. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else, including activities that get them up and moving. Studies have shown that too much screen time can also make kids lazy and moody.
What is Active Screen Time?
On the other hand, active screen time involves kids engaging as they use their screens. This can be with educational apps, creating things, or basically doing anything that gets them thinking. They are not simply sitting in front of a screen consuming what they see. They are doing something and in many cases learning at the same time.
This type of screen time has been shown to have some benefits. According to a University of Michigan study, how children use devices, not how much time they spend on them, is the strongest predictor of what types of problems may arise with screen addiction.
How Can Active Screen Time be Good for Kids?
While we know that too much passive screen time can be bad for kids, active screen time can have its benefits. These include:
Connecting with Family
Many times kids use apps to see their family members who live far away. Screens are used to connect with family which is always a good idea.
Many apps and websites are used to help children learn. Whether used as a supplement for the classroom or on its own, kids can learn important skills by interacting with these types of websites.
Improves Motor Skills
When done in moderation, playing interactive video games can help develop children’s motor skills. But, they shouldn’t be playing for hours at a time.
Can Spark Creativity
If your child is using their screens on activities like STEM or art, they may be inspired to be more creative. These types of interactive sites can make kids want to learn and create.
As a parent, it’s important to monitor your child’s screen time to see what they’re doing. If you notice they are solely using it to text friends or watch videos, you may want to have some limits. But, if they are using their screens to learn and create, you may want to be a little more lenient. Get involved and see what they’re doing. They’ll enjoy that you want to be involved. Plus, you get to see what they’re creating or learning.
When it comes to active screen time, MakerKids can help. We offer engaging and interactive classes in robotics, coding, and Minecraft. Our classes are all taught by live instructors who are available to answer questions and help kids with their projects.
To learn more about our MakerKids programs, call us at 1-844-MAKERKIDS or reach out to us online.