JIM SHARPE

Extra screen time a necessity during the coronavirus pandemic

Jul 22, 2020, 12:15 PM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

Maybe you have felt, like I have, that we’re being inundated with scientific study, after study, after study… followed by recommendations and more recommendations.

It can all be overwhelming but I still have to pay attention so that I’m not stumbling through this COVID craziness professionally (and can keep you informed on KTAR News 92.3 FM)  — or personally (so I can make informed decisions for my family).

Despite my determination to stay up to date, I have to admit that there is a new study I think I can ignore and some older recommendations I want to ignore.

I think I can ignore the new study because its recommendations are incredibly obvious — but then I’d miss its can’t-be-ignored, incredibly-hope filled conclusion.

In the case of the older recommendations, they make me feel so guilty, that I’m trying to ignore them for my sanity.

First, that study — which was published yesterday in the journal PLOS Medicine. It says that if people consistently wash their hands, wear masks and keep their social distance, we can improve our coronavirus numbers.

(You have to say this next part like an annoyed teen girl) Yeah! We know!

While recommendations have evolved on face coverings, we’ve been told from the start of the pandemic that we should wash our hands and stay home — or stay away when we have to be in public.

The surprising part of the study that I would miss if I played Mr. Know-It-All would be where it says that if we do these simple things, we can stop most of the COVID-19 pandemic — before we get a vaccine.

That’s not too much to ask. 

But what is too much to ask is a set of recommendations that I was just reminded of in an article: limiting children’s screen time.

Before coronavirus, pediatricians and childhood development experts said young kids should have pretty limited screen time — but since coronavirus hit us, kids’ screen time is up 500%. 

Here’s the recommendation I want to ignore: 2- to 5-year-olds’ screen time should be limited to no more than an hour a day.

LORD. HELP. US. 

The experts aren’t including screen time limitations in regards to kids’ school work — but what are we adults supposed to do when we need to work?!?

Well, sometimes we have to do something like we did yesterday. I’m not proud to admit it, but our 5-year-old saw more than one episode of a show called “PJ Masks” (which, incidentally, is NOT a show designed to encourage kids to wear their face coverings). 

It’s totally appropriate entertainment and it’s totally appropriate to let her have some entertainment screen time — but what wasn’t appropriate was how much entertainment she got from a screen. 

And while she also spent plenty of time playing outside, I was left feeling very guilty. 

Even though it seems like all bets are off during the pandemic, I’ve promised to work on the screen time issue. However, one way I am incapable of working on it is by setting a good example. 

Because my screen time keeps her daddy sane. 

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Extra screen time a necessity during the coronavirus pandemic