The effects of the pandemic have had a profound impact on every aspect of our live, including how we use digital devices. The blurred line between educational and recreational screen time is a new challenge for young people that we are just beginning to understand.

Screen time was a concern for children even before the introduction of COVID. A 2019-20 survey revealed that four out of five children exceeded the Ministry of Health’s recommendation of two hours of recreational screen time per day. This was in addition to screen time related to learning.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to disconnect from screens, with social restrictions and lockdowns now the norm. Children are being raise in a digital society with a variety of devices that can use for everything, from social interaction to learning and entertainment.

It is becoming more difficult to distinguish between communication, learning and recreation. Screen time, which may appear to be solely recreational, can actually be beneficial for learning, supporting mental well-being and raising awareness about important issues.

YouTube can be both educational and entertaining, as well as being entertaining. It is use more often in classrooms to complement teaching. It is use in classes to supplement teaching. However, it can also be use in other ways to drive social change. Rezo, a German star, demonstrated this with a viral video on climate change that generated sweeping public reforms.

The popular online game Minecraft also has many educational and social benefits. Even Fortnite and Roblox, although they may not have the same benefits, offer rich opportunities for social engagement, problem solving, and experiential learning.

Are The Official Live Guidelines Still Valid?

All of this presents an interesting dilemma: Can we really fit screen-time into distinct categories? And should we limit certain types but not others?

Researchers from the University of Auckland’s Centre for Informed Futures (Koi Tu) have called for more precise and detailed official screen time recommendations.

They felt that the current recommendations did not reflect the wide range of screen time students are exposed to. A review of academic literature on the effects of screen time supported this conclusion.

Research suggests a strong association between screen time and a variety of learning, behavioural and other problems. However, these results are not conclusive. They can be attributed to other factors.

It was also important to consider the type of screen that you use. In many cases, passive screen usage had negative impacts, while interactive screen use did not have the same effects. The latter can actually have positive effects, such as higher learning achievement and better cognitive skills.

Finding The Right Balance Live

This means that we must shift our view of screen time from a simple measurement of how much time is spent on screens to better understand what children do on them.

It is important to balance passive and interactive screen time. However, it is equally important to find ways to promote and prioritize more socially and educationally productive online behavior.

This principle should guide schools adoption of technology. Instead of integrating technology into every aspect learning, the devices should be used to add value and improve learning.

Particularly relevant is the role of screen devices within classrooms in light of New Zealand’s 2018 PISA results. These showed that children who used devices in science and mathematics scored lower than those who did not.

The Ministry of Education replied in August of this year with the following: Although digital devices can enhance learning, there are not many situations in which this is possible and many where learning could be affect.

Active Versus Passive Time

There is a lot of doubt about the validity and reliability of the PISA test, but more research has revealed mixed results regarding the effects of screens in classrooms.

However, it is not possible to prove a causal relationship between academic outcomes and device use. Instead of assuming that screen time is bad for learning, we should examine how screens are use in class.

Technology integration should be a priority. Students live learn best when they have the opportunity to be actively involve in creating and driving their learning.

Digital devices can use in the same way. Students should not limit their passive consumption and instead engage in creative activities. This will allow students to have authentic experiences and open up new learning possibilities.

Instead of students just watching a YouTube video to learn about the solar systems. They might make their own augmented reality simulation. This would require them to use their knowledge to place, size, and animate digital objects.

This will avoid some of the negative effects of these ubiquitous devices. And it will also highlight some of their unique benefits

This will require deep and critical reflection on what can be gain or lost. In an age where digital technology is becoming more common.