LUBBOCK, Texas — COVID-19 has kept many families at home over the past few months and as a result, some parents have developed a tendency to hand over iPads and smartphones to their kids in order to keep them entertained.
Child development experts said too much screen time isn’t always the child’s best interest.
Lovevery is a national company focused on providing parents and kids with resources along every stage of their child’s cognitive development up until age 3.
They explained that devices aren’t always a bad thing for kids, mainly only flashy games that can sometimes be over stimulating.
“We don’t want to take children away from the real world and their exploration of it,” said CEO Jessica Rolph. “From a child development perspective, it’s the most healthy way for them to grow.”
Lubbock Public Library said that they offer a variety of summer reading and craft programs that can help keep kids engaged throughout the summer months. But due to COVID-19, they have had to hold these programs virtually.
“We’ve had to adapt our services because of the pandemic,” said Librarian Alex Ferguson. “While all of our programs are virtual, they’re still educational and we still have things that you can tie in at home with your family.”
Despite having to look at a screen to participate in these activities, experts with Lovevery said that using a screen to do hands on activities at home can actually be a helpful way to use devices for children.
“So on a 2-dimensional screen, there is a lot of research that shows that when parents can interact with children…whether its grandparents or parents, when children can have a real back and forth conversation even if that is through a screen is healthy,” said Rolph. “What’s not healthy or is seen as not healthy during a child’s early years is really what’s seen as those gimmicky flashing lights that may seem to be educational but are not as good for a child’s developing brain.”
Rolph said that boredom isn’t always a negative thing for kids and after just 10 minutes of boredom, many kids can spark a wave of creativity and imagination which can lead to positive cognitive development.
We spoke to parent John Bankston who said that he thinks it’s important to provide his son with the experience of getting outside and learning about the world around him.
“It’s important to get out and do activities as opposed to sit around the house and playing with digital media,” said Bankston. “He likes to run around and get his energy out. He doesn’t get much out of it when he sits at home and stays on the couch.”