Children Health

Solving a problem with a problem. Last year the CDC reported that eight… | by Sophia Parvizi-Wayne | Aug, 2021

Sophia Parvizi-Wayne

Last year the CDC reported that eight to ten year olds on average spent six hours a day on screens. I don’t even need to go into justifying how much time that is – just imagine heading out for a six hour gym session or spending six hours cooking dinner. It’s a lot of time.

It’s also a problem. From eye damage to back pain to a reduction in the ability to process everyday in person events, no one is arguing that too much screen time is a good thing. However, the sad truth is that screens aren’t going anywhere. Screen time went up 76% during lockdown.

So what happens when you have a problem that isn’t going away and people are engaging with it more and more?

You use the problem to solve a problem.

When I was a teen, I had goals of changing children’s mental health by the lessons they learnt in the classroom. We did that for a while and it worked to an extent but as soon as the lessons stopped, many of us stopped engaging. When I hit 22, I wrote an article (somewhere lost in the depths of the internet) about how I was going to get off Instagram. It lasted a whole day and a half.

Two years on, we are still all on our screens and children still aren’t learning the basic skills of developing emotional resiliency and how to build their psychological toolbox. Roblox, Peppa Pig and Minecraft are all booming, though.

I didn’t think my solution would be using technology, albeit with limited screen time, to help children and parents work on their mutual and self understanding. But if ten minutes a day out of those six hours can be put into learning about empathy, what it means to feel frustrated, finding their favourite things in nature, and how to express and execute those lessons in the real world with real people, maybe a few minutes a day isn’t all that bad.

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