Balancing children’s screen time with other activities during pandemic is key, expert says

Whether it?s for online classes and virtual learning or socializing with friends, many parents are facing the new reality: More screen time for their children.

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla — Whether it’s for online classes and virtual learning or socializing with friends, many parents are facing the new reality: More screen time for their children.

“Everything is different right now, so we are just embracing the different,” said Kate Lacomb, a mom in Ormond Beach who monitors the screen time for her 11-year-old son Alex, and also tries to balance that screen time with outdoor activities such as bike rides through their Ormond Beach neighborhood.

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“We are kind of considering it like a bank account, so if you spend time outside then you earn some screen time,” Lacomb said.

Though how screen time is too much can be worrisome, Christopher Ferguson, a Stetson Professor of Psychology, said “people have been frightened, perhaps unnecessarily” about it.

Ferguson said screen time can have its benefits, especially when helping children keep up those social relationships with friends.

But balance and moderation is key.

“Parents can relax at this point in time a little bit about screen time,” Ferguson said. “And there is no magic number, like once you exceed two hours or four hours or whatever. It is really about balancing screens with other activities that kids need to do.”