With the new year, everyone is talking about diet, exercise and making changes. I’m going to jump on that trend and ask you to consider your screen resolution – not the pixel count but your intentions for screen use in 2023.
Parents, older siblings, and other adults provide children important models for screen use. However, kids are keenly aware when older people are asking them to follow one set of rules but seem to be following another. For example, have you found yourself saying, “Turn that off and do something else” while you yourself were looking at a screen? You are not alone – we’ve all been caught in moments like this in our screen-filled, imperfect lives.
Here are some questions when thinking about your screen practices:
- When you have a free moment, do you find yourself automatically checking text messages, email or social media? The next time that happens, look around to see if your kids are nearby and ask yourself, “Is there something I can do with them instead?”
- If you spend your working days on screens, do you tend to use your non-work screen time for entertainment? If that’s the case, you know you’re creating balance in your own screen life, but your kids may only see you in your leisure time. Show them how you use devices for work and ask them how they use screens for their own kinds of work – learning, discovering and creating.
- Phones and tablets are great for consuming media, but it takes a bit of exploration to see how they can be used for creating media as well. Invite your kid to write and draw on their screens, record their voices and take photos and videos.
- Lastly, when we are reading from paper, it’s obvious to those around us what we are doing. When we are reading from screens, it’s not as clear. If you do most of your reading on screens, show your kids what you are reading, and introduce them to the remarkable world of e-book libraries, where millions of books and stories are available for them on their very own devices.
Ben Kramer, PhD is the director of education for Austin PBS.