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Trying to Manage 'Screen Time' at Home? 5 Tips for the Family


As school and community closures remain in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, screen time usage has never been higher. Here's a look at the latest reports and 5 tips for families to remember,


  • ParentsTogether, a parent-led national organization, showed results from a recent poll that 48% of kids are now spending more than six hours per day online, a 500% increase prior to the pandemic. [1]

  • Facebook announced their latest user totals showing a jump in daily active users by 77 million in the first quarter of 2020, the biggest increase since 2011. In total, Facebook added over 105 million new users to the platform since the start of the year increasing their monthly active users to 2.6 billion, up 10% from 2019. [2]

  • Netflix more than doubled their expected number of new subscribers since the start of the year with over 15.77 million new subscribers joining the platform globally. [3]

  • Steam, a video game distribution platform, broke its concurrent user record three separate times with the current record sitting at 24.5 million users. [4]

  • Reports from SuperData show spending on digital games increased to $10 billion for the month of March, an 11% increase from last year and highest monthly total on record. At the top of the pack was Nintendo's newest family title, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, reporting the highest online sales in a single month from any console game in history. [5]

Much of this news is likely not a surprise with many lockdowns still in place across the world. From video conferences with coworkers to remote learning with teachers, people of all ages are using screens and technology now more than ever to stay connected.

For youth amid this pandemic, screens have become a vital tool for continued education and provides access to entertainment, games, and interaction with friends and family. For parents however, there are increasing concerns around balance, safety, and managing online content and interactions.

With COVID-19 affecting much of our normal activities, here are some quick tips for parents and families to remember as we continue our reliance on technology during these times,


5 Tips for the Family


  1. Not all screen time is created equal [6] Screens are used for almost everything these days. It’s hard to avoid screens, especially as distance learning is being applied for students across the globe. As we think of screen time limits, know that time spent on homework or educational activities may not require as many limits as time spent watching TV or playing video games.

  2. Never share private or identifying information [7] Never share personal information online with people you don’t know or trust in real life. Predators and scammers can use this information against children and their families. Make sure children know what is considered personal information: name, address, city/state, school, email, phone number, etc.

  3. Setup security and privacy settings for the whole family [8] Take a proactive approach to keeping your family safe online by establishing secure passwords, parental controls, and content filters. Talk about your family's online interactions and have regular conversations about digital safety. Not sure where to start? Check out these Online Safety Resources that address a wide range of topics and issues for all ages!

  4. Don’t forget to exercise [9] It’s important to remember that as our screen time increases we need to take breaks to stretch and engage in physical exercise to stay healthy and promote balance. You can even use video games to encourage physical activity by going for a walk to play Pokemon Go! or busting a move with Just Dance.

  5. Keep it positive while online [10] Whether in video games or on social media, It’s important to demonstrate good online behavior and encourage our children to treat others as they would like to be treated. Here is an Internet Manners guide to help your family think of positive ways they can interact with others online.

 

SOURCES:

[1 ] https://parents-together.org/survey-shows-parents-alarmed-as-kids-screen-time-skyrockets-during-covid-19-crisis/

[2] https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-closes-in-on-new-milestone-of-3-billion-total-users-across-its-pla/577048/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/apr/21/netflix-new-subscribers-covid-19-lockdown

[4] https://steamdb.info/app/753/graphs/

[5] https://www.superdataresearch.com/blog/worldwide-digital-games-market

[6] https://kidshealth.org/Inova/en/parents/screentime-bigkids.html

[7] http://www.aliciaproject.org/internet-safety-tips.html

[8] https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/keeping-children-and-youth-in-nunavut-safe-online/

[9] https://www.unicef.org/globalinsight/stories/rethinking-screen-time-time-covid-19

[10] https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/top-internet-manners/

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