Are you concerned about too much screen time for your children? It’s a common concern but it is important to remember that not all screen time is created equal. While watching silly videos on YouTube is probably not very intellectually stimulating, there are ways that screentime can be beneficial.
This really hit home for me with my oldest son. Several years ago, Zach started playing a lot of Minecraft with friends. At first, I wanted to significantly limit his time on it. However, my wife (who is a neuroscientist and much smarter than I am) suggested that was not necessary. While playing Minecraft with friends, he was developing social skills and being creative with what they built and the games they were playing in this virtual world.
As I reflected on it, I realized that he was doing a lot of things virtually that I liked to do with friends in the real world at his age. The difference was that I was given free range of our neighborhood and had several children my age that lived close by.
Video games can help build important skills. A recent blog post on Psychology Today pointed out that playing action video games can be beneficial for children with attention issues. And this child clinical psychologist was not talking about games designed specifically for training attention, like the Attention Arcade. These were just general action video games.
So remember, all screen time is not created equal. There are a lot of games that can help children develop important skills and learn content. Guiding children to the right games can make a big difference in the outcomes of screen time.