Screen time has become a hot-button issue among educators and parents. Teachers and guardians are struggling to find a way to teach kids to use technology without creating zombies who only play video games. Screens have become a staple in classrooms across the country, but are they being used in the most beneficial way for students? The term “purposeful screen time” is growing ever-more-important in education, as well as a staple in the Bennett Day School curricula.

How Students Use Screens in School

Technology has the ability to facilitate student exploration into topics of interest in a productive way. For example, YouTube videos recorded from the International Space Station give children a front seat view into outer space. The value in a tool like this can be used to spark curiosity in a child’s imagination, leading to further investigation and interest into space exploration. By focusing on the benefits of screens in education, students have access to boundless resources that enhance the learning experience.

Teaching Students to Manage Screen time

In the world today, children are increasingly distracted by their tech devices due to unlimited access to content spread across the ever-expanding internet. Parents and teachers are struggling to find the balance between educational and recreational screen time, which leads to the new concept of creating “purposeful screen time.” The intent is to teach that technology is just one of many tools available to a learner and consumer. Teachers and parents should guide kids through the process of deciding which learning tool may be best for the task at hand. In many cases, as referenced above with the YouTube example, technology may be a developmentally appropriate way to engage in learning. In other instances, parents and teachers may guide students toward literature or encourage them to use creative tools that do not require technology. With purposeful screen time, children learn to utilize technology intentionally, balance it with non-technological tools and navigate devices without distraction.

Encouraging Purposeful Screen time at Home

Technology plays a critical role in our daily lives, and its importance and prevalence will only increase in the years to come. Teaching kids how to manage devices responsibly while they are young can build crucial digital citizenship skills and help prevent potential negative consequences of technology. Guiding them on how to use technology in a supplemental way to reduce their reliance on devices can encourage children to problem solve and nurture other skills to set themselves up for a lifetime of success.

Screen time should not have a negative connotation, as it is extremely important for children to understand how to use technology. Teachers and parents should guide kids on how to use devices in a way that avoids time-wasters and over-consumption and promotes educational purposes. At Bennett Day School, we pride ourselves on implementing technology into everyday learning in a purposeful manner.

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