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Anna Duckworth: We've all heard the overwhelming stats about how much time kids spend with media. It's now up to almost 8 hours a day, but believe it or not there is some good news. Whether it's mastering math or practicing social skills, today’s screens can teach important lessons, and even better, it doesn't have to be boring. Here are some simple tips to help your kids get the best out of screen time.
First, take the non-rote route. Traditional memorization programs that help kids master the basics are one way to boost learning, but parents can take lessons up a notch by finding engaging apps that take a different approach. For example, a student who struggles with math could benefit from a gaming app like DragonBox that teaches algebra using shapes instead of numbers.
Next, seek out soft skills. It may come as a surprise, but learning how to relate to others is something kids can actually pick up from media. Today, lots of apps, games, and TV shows teach important life lessons like empathy, honesty, respect, and more. For example, tweens can learn about tolerance and compromise from watching TV shows like The Haunted Hathaways.
And finally, make time for code. Learning how to code can help kids develop essential skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking, plus it encourages them to become creators, not just consumers of the technology they use. The good news is there are several new products that can give kids a head start. Sites like Design Squad Nation introduce kids to engineering using fun games and activities.
For more help finding entertaining and educational content for your kids' screens, check out our mobile app or visit us at commonsense.org. I’m Anna Duckworth.