What does healthy screen time even mean in 2021?

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What’s the solution for parents and their hyper-connected children?. (Getty Images)
What’s the solution for parents and their hyper-connected children?. (Getty Images)

We look at screens for almost half of the day. In fact, adults look at screens approximately 10 or 11 hours per day in many cases (remote work, your phone, Netflix at night!).

Our kids aren’t far behind. And during what feels like a never-ending pandemic, parents are increasingly voicing their concerns, especially on Facebook parenting groups, as they are unsure what ‘healthy screen time’ even means in 2021. 

“We grew up with screens,” says Tyla, a high school student who joined online school before Covid hit, as she is a golf player who likes the flexibility of learning from anywhere. 

However, what’s the solution for parents and their hyper-connected child who wants to balance on-and offline in 2021 and beyond? 

Also see: Back to school, or maybe not? Ask these questions before choosing online learning

The best of both the online and offline worlds

Valenture is an online school, but they recently expanded their offering to include campus experiences for students. 

Students arrive at a completely Covid-monitored campus dressed in civvies, donning a mask or face shield, and have their laptop and noise-cancelling headphones tucked away in their backpack.

It's definitely a new way of learning for most of these high school students. But this blended learning environment sees students get the best of both the online and offline worlds. 

"Some of these students were seeing the space and meeting other students for the first time in a long while since joining online-learning. There were lots of new friendships and connections formed during the onboarding activities!" says learning coach, Bhongolwethu Sonti. 

Healthy screen downtime

They learn online in live, timetables zoom sessions (3-5 per day) while attending a physical campus during the day - this allows their parents to go about their day unaffected as they don’t have to be at home. 

On-campus they can socialise online or offline and are able to collaborate and create with other students off-screen.

"During breaks, our students love to play cards or guitar and connect in the multi-purpose space. They are teaching each other all sorts of card tricks! Another group has started a role-playing group. They get together to play Dungeons and Dragons. It feels like an episode out of Stranger Things," says senior learning Kobus. 

This model allows the flexibility for students to learn online and to enjoy some healthy screen downtime while socialising with other students in a space that is safe and offers a lot of support.

Submitted to Parent24 by the Valenture Institute. 


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