Mighty Blog

How can families navigate technology and distance learning during COVID-19

As we continue to social distance in order to address COVID-19, schools have turned to technology to keep kids’ learning on track. Families have also been relying on technology, including video chatting, to stay connected with grandparents and friends. Although technology is a great way to bring some normalcy to day-to-day routines, parents may wonder: How much is too much screen time?

Dr. Gigi Chawla, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota, shares more about how families can balance screen time recommendations from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), with the social connection kids need during social distancing.

Dr. Chawla shares more with WCCO

3 tips to balance technology and social distancing

Not all screen time is created equal

Believe it or not, some types of screen time can aid in kids’ development. Distance learning is important to keep children on track with their education. You can also choose to play an educational game with your child if they are not yet at school age.

Connecting with family or friends via video chat is also a great use of screen time. These types of interactions are important for development now more than ever. Teens especially my feel isolated at this time and even some time on social media can help them feel more connected to their friends.

Set limits

The AAP recommends young children between the ages 2 and 5 have no more than one hour of screen time each day. School age children, especially as they participate in distance learning, will have more screen time each day.

But do your best to limit the amount of time your kids spend on screens outside of school or social interactions. This is especially important when it comes to television news. Hearing constant news about COVID-19 and the pandemic can be overwhelming for kids and parents alike.

Take breaks

“What we’re really asking for is for families to be watchful of those opportunities where they could choose something else other than screen time and think about those as opportunities to really do that,” explained Dr. Chawla.

Set aside time to get outside every day so kids can stay active: Take a walk, go for a bike ride or just play in the yard.

We want everyone to stay happy and healthy during COVID-19. Balance will be the key to doing that! Use these tips from Dr. Chawla to keep technology and social distancing balanced.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit childresmn.org/covid19.