Not all screen time is created equal.
As a technology focused school, Fort Worth Academy students are required to use their computers throughout the school day and to complete many of their assignments at home in the evenings. Is this the same thing as sitting in front of the TV for 4 hours a day? Hardly.
Now we all know that too much of anything can be unhealthy...and your students clearly need sleep. So parents must strive for an educated balance...a balance they no doubt attempt to maintain in their own lives. In an effort to find that balance, we offer assistance to our FWA parents with suggestions for dealing with the ever-increasing technology invasion.
1 - Don’t confuse your student’s screen time with that of yours at his/her age, especially if you are over the age of 30 because 90% of your screen time was likely a television which hardly provided the same learning opportunities.
2 - Always have your student use the computer in a common area of the home rather than in the bedroom. This relates to our 90 degree rule for laptop usage in the classroom at FWA...all laptop screens must be open at 90 degrees from the keyboard so as the teacher moves around the classroom, the screen is clearly visible. The same visibility should be required at home and use in a common space allows this to happen more easily.
3 - Set a reasonable curfew for all technology use. Reasonable in light of the revelation that not all screen time is created equal. Remember, homework is still homework even if a pencil and paper is not involved. So additional screen time after homework, maybe in the form of some Minecraft construction work, should be considered down-time. We even go as far as giving parents our permission to throw us under the bus, saying things like, “Mr. Loy says your computer has to be off by 9pm.”
(Oh and don’t tell your students they are actually learning things when playing Minecraft...more on this in future blogs)
4 - Have a dedicated space in the home for all technology to live at night to charge. Our number one homework assignment for all students every night is to charge their laptop. The dedicated space also makes it easier to spot a missing laptop that may have found its way into the student’s bedroom.