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Tech tools and learning devices can be a valuable asset for educators, but it's important to be mindful of students' screen time.

5 ways to manage students’ screen time

Tech tools and learning devices can be a valuable asset for educators, but it's important to be mindful of how long students are on devices

Modern technological advancements can make education noticeably more exciting and entertaining, but accompanied by all its benefits, uncontrolled use of technology in schools can divert students’ attention to unwanted places. That is why efficient school management is important.

Most American children’s daily screen time averages around five to seven hours. Consequently, and considering today’s widespread use of smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices among children, monitoring and managing children’s screen time is essential for protecting their physical and mental well-being. Unhealthy usage (may it be time-based or content-based) can lead to physical health issues, feelings of isolation, disconnection from the real world, and a number of other problems.

That is why the problem must be also faced in schools, where students spend a big part of their day. Thus, teachers must be able to monitor student screen time in the classroom. Educators can use several strategies to limit students’ screen usage and efficiently foster engagement.

#1: Establish Clear Classroom Rules

Establishing classroom norms defines the atmosphere of the class and is essential for creating a thriving learning environment. Make sure to decide which behavior in the classroom is acceptable and which isn’t. Communicate your expectations and allow students to partake in setting the norms. This will give them the confidence to share their opinions. Once some ground rules are established, offer explicit instructions and discuss them with students. Clearly outline the expectations to ensure the classroom remains a safe and productive learning space. And with that, also plainly define the consequences for breaking the rules.

#2: Make Sure the Expectations Are Reasonable

When you are setting limits for student screen time, the limits must be realistic. It is best to consider various factors, such as how much screen time is required for fluent schoolwork, how much time students spend behind screens besides that, etc. While establishing these expectations, again, ensure that students know what is expected of them.

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#3: Monitor Screen Use in the Classroom

Modern problems usually come with modern solutions. So, the fear of students uncontrollably using technology in the classroom is unnecessary. You can use various classroom screen monitoring tools to stay on top of students’ online activities. School management tools help you manage everything from supervising the websites students use and introducing time constraints, to blocking inappropriate content and keeping track of their attendance.

You can use content-filtering student safety software that also allows communicating with parents and allows them to participate in their children’s activities. In addition to facilitating parent-teacher communication, this often enables parents to impose time restrictions on their children’s device use and block access to particular websites and apps.

#4: Encourage and Foster Balanced Use of Technology

The easiest and most long-term effective method of managing student screen time is making sure students gradually learn how to use technology responsibly by themselves. Encourage students to use technology in balanced, constructive, and beneficial ways. Stressing the value of the benefits and possibilities of using technology for educational purposes is crucial.

#5: Cultivate Digital Citizenship

As we mentioned earlier, seeing how technology will play an important role in students’ lives, it is essential we teach children to use the internet ethically and responsibly. Cultivating digital citizenship is about using technology safely, all the while defending one’s privacy and the rights of other internet users. And this not only fosters responsible online behavior but also nourishes children’s compassion, thoughtfulness, and morality.

You can do that by developing courses centered around subjects like cyberbullying, online safety, and responsible internet usage. Learning how to navigate the online world safely is easier with the guidance of adults, especially if you are equipped with the aforementioned tools.

These are some methods for establishing a healthy and high-functional learning environment by regulating student screen time. When you make sure students are safe from threats and potential risks technology usage (and its exploitation) brings, you enable them to flourish in a safe and productive setting. With a little help, they can stay focused on their classwork and foster their digital competencies, with the goal of one day becoming upstanding responsible digitally literate people. And all the while promoting student engagement and making the best of the various benefits of today’s technology.

This post originally appeared on Blocksi’s site and is republished here with permission.

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