From CTV News–My husband and I sent our first and fourth graders off to their last day of in-person school one year ago this month. I kissed them and pretended not to be terribly worried about the impending surge of patients to my hospital or the sacrifices we would all have to make to flatten the curve.
As the spring of 2020 wore on, we settled into a new routine of opening up laptops and tablets to see classmates’ faces and hear teachers’ lessons. I transitioned quickly to seeing my clinic patients via telehealth and managing my research lab over Zoom.
Humans have never been so dependent on technology as we have been this past year. Some of it has been fun and brilliant, some of it an exhausting battle for my family’s attention span.
REDEFINING ‘SCREEN TIME’
“Screen time” was not a helpful concept this year. When we live our lives through technology, the unidimensional concept of time doesn’t capture how inspiring, meaningful or toxic a digital experience has been. Instead, I heard parents reflecting on these metrics of worthwhile media use:
- Did my kids feel more connected to someone else’s experience, or did they feel more divided from others?
- Did I put down my device feeling more anxious and angry or feeling like life made more sense?
- Did I feel like my family’s behavior was being covertly tracked and nudged in one direction or another, or did I feel aware and in control?