Screen Time: Three C’s

Screen Time remains a big parent problem in China and USA.

This from EdSurge.

It’s an interview with Lisa Guernsey, director of the teaching, learning and tech program at New America, a nonpartisan think tank.

She even wrote a book that’s called “Screen Time” and a more recent one called “Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens.”

Q: Have you heard of these videos that have gone viral on YouTube for years now where parents are taking away the kids’ XBox or phone and like smashing it with a sledgehammer or throwing them out the window? What do you make of these?

A: Yeah. Obviously they’re a sign of frustration. I think they send a really dangerous signal personally.

But a lot of us are feeling that we don’t have control anymore over how we’re using all these different devices and how our kids are using them. And we hate the tantrums that arise when we’re just snatching them away, and we wish we hadn’t snatched them away, but we hate that the tantrum is happening. And we just wish these things were out of our lives entirely.

But we have got to define new paths for thinking about learning, thinking about how children are using media in ways that build their curiosity and their sense of the world and their understanding of where the messages are coming from instead of just demonizing it because that’s not going to get us anywhere.

Lisa adds:

So what is the content on the screen? So content is the first C. What is the context of that screen use? Is somebody sitting with the student? Are they working on a project together?

Then, Is this something where they’re creating instead of consuming? And then a third C is the child—that individual student.

Yep. I’d loosely organize it this way. Track “leisure screen time” (playing a game, watching TV, or for an adult, reading lots of blogs) and “reasonably productive screen time.” The three C’s can help you decide which is which.

We have a 90 minute cap on leisure for the kids. And then they have a fair amount of screen-enabled homework.

Including lots of dumb stuff that need not be on the computer. Many teachers are NOT even thinking about reducing screen time.

I.e., literally worksheets on the screen, like last night. Instead of handing a piece of paper with math problems on it, it’s a PDF. Which nominally saves paper but requires battery, so I’m skeptical of environmental benefit. And means that our kid is spending even more time holding the computer, which drives additional distraction opportunities.