cracking the {code}
How to Best Balance Your Child's Screen Time
parents, STEAM

This week one of our NYC Scratch and Web Dev instructors, Lyuba, shares how she approaches screen time with her child.

Here’s what she says:

“As a coding teacher and parent, I am sometimes conflicted about my child's computer use. I definitely believe coding is a powerful educational tool; it builds problem-solving skills and perseverance, among other things. They get to see and experience mathematical concepts in a way that provides immediate feedback. They also get to be creative and take pride in their work.

However, as thrilled as I was to see my daughter coding her first algorithm in Scratch Jr., a little girl jumping on her bed, I am just as happy to see her running around outside! Kids have many different needs: socialization, exercise, imaginative play, which don’t always align with computer time.

Parents, teachers, and doctors are currently debating how much screen time is too much, and at what age a child should be allowed to use a computer. My approach is to let my kid have her screen time if she has a healthy balance of other kid stuff. But it’s what she is doing on her device that is more important to me. An hour of watching YouTube is not the same as an hour coding a game with me (her ideas constantly inspire my own work). I wouldn't even consider that screen time at all, but rather a creative activity like Legos.

As with everything we do as parents, it’s sometimes hard to remember that kids are just kids. They have many different needs and interests, which can change on a daily basis. There is no magic formula for screen time, but if you can find active ways for kids (and you) to use devices that encourage them to develop important skills, you’re on the right track. Bottom line, devices can be an extension of normal kid stuff rather than a distraction from it.”

Here at Generation Code, we want kids’ screen time to be active, rather than just a way to pass time. Each class session balances on- and off-screen activities, but we think that ultimately screens can inspire kids into action and critical thinking. Screen time is what you make of it.

Want your child to become a digital leader? Check out our awesome summer camps in Vienna, VA and NYC, where expert instructors teach kids and teens everything from animation and robotics to game and app development!

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