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Reasons You Maybe Shouldn’t Stress Out Quite So Much Over Your Kids’ Screen Time

Yes, I recently wrote a post about finding ways — any way! — to get your kids off of screens. So why am I now saying, “Eh, it’s not so bad.”

Like all things, screen time is about moderation. And if you are able to find a balance between the time your kids spend on screens and without them, there are actually a lot of benefits.

That’s right, benefits! I’m trying to present both sides of the argument here, okay?

Plus, I do believe that. We live in a technological world. Completely preventing your children from participating in it can keep them from gaining valuable knowledge and experiences.

Let’s look at some of those benefits from this Parenting article, and I’ll add in some firsthand experiences.

Provide Social Opportunities

Parenting points to how kids can find and connect with long distance friends for games and playdates, the value of things like video calls for staying in touch, and even how some social media groups can “foster community and connectedness.”

Both our son and daughter have made real-world friends that they have then bolstered online by connecting with them on platforms like Discord and playing Minecraft or Roblox together. They still see each other IRL when possible, and their relationship is deeper and richer due to the “virtual” time they’ve spent together.

Bolster Learning and Critical Thinking

The article is careful to point out that not all apps and games are created equal and parents should always vet what their children are playing, but applauds games’ ability to improve problem solving skills, communication, resource management, spatial thinking, and more.

My kids have learned all of those things from Minecraft, as well as specific digital skills like coding, and creativity from building literal worlds. There are tons of other examples — we’ve played digital versions of everything from Chess to Hangman in situations where having the physical game wouldn’t have been possible.

Promote School Readiness

Parenting lists the many specific screen-based devices and content that get educate kids, including things you might not think about, such as ebooks and educational TV shows.

We have countless examples here, but the one that sticks with me is Numberblocks. The episodes literally start with anthropomorphic blocks of different denominations combining together to form bigger numbers, then naturally moves into subtraction, multiplication, division… all through character interaction and catchy songs. My daughter could multiply before kindergarten because of Numberblocks.

Oh, and there are myriad applications and devices that improve reading, writing, and communication skills. eBooks are the obvious answer, but even things like writing emails, using Word and Google Docs, and even texting friends can help with these needed skills.

Help Fine Motor Skills

While the article focuses on video games and how they improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination (sure), I’d like to take a different tack.

Typing. Using a mouse. Drawing using art apps. There are all kinds of ways that screens can be used to raise kids’ fine motor abilities.

So there you have it. Screens and technology are not without problems. But in many cases those issues are overblown. And there are at least as many benefits as there are difficulties.

Provided, of course, that kids use them in conjunction with off-screen activities and in moderation.

That, naturally, is the hard part.

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