As we continue to navigate pandemic life, the question of "healthy screen time" continues to be debated, particularly concerning child users. Screen time has helped provide a useful social outlet when face-to-face interactions are so limited but do parents have a cause for concern? The Globe and Mail explored these issues, consulting parents and child psychology experts in their article Why it’s time to stop worrying about your children’s screen time during COVID-19. Dr. Victoria Talwar, ECP Chair, was interviewed for the piece and had this to say:
“Prior to the pandemic we kind of assumed screen time was more entertainment time, more frivolous time. Whereas now it’s the only way we get a lot of our things done,” said Victoria Talwar, a professor in the department of educational and counselling psychology at McGill University. “It’s not enough to just talk about screen time because it doesn’t really characterize what we’re actually doing, and we might be doing some vital things that we need to be doing,” she said.
"Kids need to socialize with peers, and screens have become one of the only, and certainly one of the safest, means of providing them with those interactions. Kids need to feel connected to their families, especially at a time when it is all too easy to be beset by feelings of isolation, and screen activities, such as family movie nights, help to fulfill that need", Dr. Talwar said. "While we should use screens in moderation, parents need not obsess over screen time."
The role screens play in our lives has changed, and so too should the questions we ask of screens, she said. “It’s really thinking about whether this is meeting your physical, mental and social needs,” Dr. Talwar said. “Is it meeting our needs? Does it support our healthy well-being? And if it does, it’s fine.”