Screen time and digital technology use: how it helps with learning
When balanced with other activities, screen time can be good for your child’s learning and development. This can happen when your child:
- uses age-appropriate, good-quality media – for example, when your child plays a video game that involves critical or creative thinking
- has a purpose in mind when using digital technology – for example, when your child goes online to find instructions for a craft activity
- gets new ideas for traditional play from screen time – for example, when your child plays Minecraft and gets interested in designing buildings with boxes, glue and paper
- uses digital technology to connect with people they know – for example, when your child talks with family using video-chat or plays multi-player games with friends
- produces content rather than just consuming it – for example, when your child writes a blog, uses an app to create music, or films and edits short movies
- explores interests and learns new things with friends – for example, when your child and a friend learn to play a new game together, chat using video messages, or make a video about a shared interest.
Quality is key. Read more about good apps, TV, movies and YouTube for preschoolers, good apps, TV, movies and YouTube for school-age children and good apps, TV, movies and YouTube for teenagers.
Using screen time to develop new skills
Screen time and digital technology use can help your child develop:
- digital skills – for example, by learning video-editing skills through doing a video about a school excursion
- creative skills – for example, by drawing, or creating content like video clips, animations or comics
- problem-solving skills – for example, by working out the most appropriate clothes for online characters to wear in rainy weather, or working on coding projects that require experimentation
- communication skills – for example, by learning another language or chatting to friends or relatives on a video call
- social skills – for example, by playing games that involve turn-taking, playing as part of a team, or showing and helping others to use technology
- goal-setting skills – for example, by wearing fitness trackers to set physical activity goals and track progress.
Ideas for using screen time to help with learning
Here are ideas for using digital technology to help your child learn:
- Get your child to take photos or videos of things that interest them – for example, cars or things in the garden. Then your child could search for information about these things online and share the photos and information with others.
- Encourage your child to use technology to explain something to others. For example, after watching you cut up fruit, your child could make a video about making fruit salad. Your child could also learn how to edit the video and add subtitles and credits.
- Search for an online map of a place you’re going to for an outing or a holiday – for example, a new playground or the beach. You could help your child learn about directions and distances by looking at the map.
- Help your child choose a game or app that relates to something they’re interested in. For example, if your child loves painting or drawing, look for a painting app. Talk about the differences between painting on a screen and on paper.
- Encourage your older child to show a younger sibling or a friend how to play a new, age-appropriate video game or app.