Taking the focus off of “screen time”

This post was originally featured on Stanford GSE’s “School’s In” webpage.

Jeff Hancock discusses the problem with limiting the amount of time kids spend online.

As the pandemic continues, kids are relying increasingly on the internet for learning and connection. That translates to a lot of screen time, which parents may find concerning—especially if they fear their children are being confronted with deceptive or manipulative content.

“There are bad actors who realize that more and more people, especially young people, are now online, and we do need to be more vigilant,” says Jeff Hancock, a professor of communications at Stanford and founding director of the Stanford Social Media Lab. “But I think we need to balance the panic we’ve instilled in so many parents with recognizing what kids can be doing online that’s really valuable.”

On this episode of School’s In, Hancock joins Stanford Graduate School of Education Dean Dan Schwartz and Senior Lecturer Denise Pope to talk about how adults and kids can embrace the benefits of social media while navigating its hazards.

The typical approach to managing kids’ social media intake – limiting the amount of time they spend in front of a screen – is problematic, Hancock says.

“Screen time is the wrong way to think about it,” says Hancock, because the devices can be the gateway to such a wide range of activities.“Some are going to be great for us. Some are going to be bad for us. And most of it’s going to be in the middle.”

You can listen to School’s Inon SiriusXMApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and Soundcloud.

See all episodes here.

Leave a Comment