Screen time: it’s a balancing act!

Every year I try to touch on the importance of finding balance on and off the screen. I’m sure you’ve noticed the increase in screen time and referrals that involve a technology aspect.

According to the CDC “Overall, 65.7% of boys and 64.6% of girls aged 2–17 years spent >2 hours of screen time per weekday, in addition to screen time spent for schoolwork. Among both boys and girls, the percentage of children who spent >2 hours of screen time increased with increasing age group from 47.5% for those aged 2–5 years to 80.2% for those aged 12–17 years” (CDC. gov)

So here’s how I am helping my students find their balance.

4 Corners

This is such fun icebreaker game that gives me a lot of informal data. I love asking students much screen time they perceive they are getting and what they are doing on and off technology.

It’s also a natural movement break that helps manage behavior.

Read about it

“The Couch Potato” by Jory John is hands down my favorite book to tackle healthy screen time.

When our couch potato blows a fuse and can’t get online, he’s forced outdoors. It’s a great way to talk about what lesson the couch potato learned and mindfulness.

One of my favorite follow up activities is to have students draw what kind of potato they are.

Get outdoors!

If the weather is nice I love to get the students outdoors for a scavenger hunt. It’s so much fun to enjoy the sun and be mindful of the beautiful world around us.

Rainy day? Instead I set up centers for students- playdough, board games, coloring, puzzles, etc.

Watch it

This video from Common Sense Media is a great way to learn more about the idea of balance.

Plan it out

I put students in groups of 3’s and give each student a time of day (morning, afternoon, night). Then I ask them to write down their ideal of what they would do at that time. For example, their dream afternoon- what would they be doing.

Then they share with their team and look at their ideal day together. Was it balanced or screen time heavy?

If it was screentime heavy I ask them to see where they could find the balance? Where in their day could they put the technology down and get outside!

Fact vs. Myth

There are so many myths out there about technology use. So I love having older students and/or parents (during a workshop) play scramble to decide if they know the difference.

I lay 10 cards around my classroom and the participants have to find each card and read them. After they read a card they have to decide if what it states is a fact or is it a myth. They circle their answer on the game sheet and then it’s off to find the next card.

Time Tracker

A fun “homework” assignment is to give students a tracker to see if their day really is balanced. They can bring it back and continue to debreif and share.

Other favorite resources:

Mayo Clinic

Common Sense Media

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