The Benefits of Self-Learning Activities with Screen Time


There are many positives to kids being on their screens, such as ‘active and creative’ screen time. Kids can learn a lot by watching videos, here are a few examples of positive screen time interactions.

Last night, my 12-year-old daughter helped me prepare a Thai chicken and vegetable stir fry with rice noodles for dinner. It was absolutely delicious. Earlier that day, she had seen a TikToK video of a woman in fast motion making the dish. She showed me the video and asked if we could make it, and we followed the recipe which was in the comments – with a few minor alterations to use what we had in the pantry. On other occasions she has shown me various cooking techniques that I now use in the kitchen.

Screen time generally gets a bad rap from adults, but there are so many benefits and so much to be learned if the kids are allowed to learn and explore in their own time. As discussed in a previous blog post, not all screen time is created equal. Too much “Passive” screen time can have negative effects on children. However, if kids are encouraged to use their screen time in a positive meaningful way, where they are learning and active, their lives can be greatly enhanced.

After studying children aged 4 to 11 on their use of screen time, a University of Michigan study found that “how children use the devices, not how much time they spend on them, is the strongest predictor of emotional or social problems connected with screen addiction.” As long as we ensure that our kids are actively using their screens, we can most likely avoid the physical and mental health problems that have been associated with passive screen use.

Apart from new recipes and cooking techniques, my daughter has taught herself all manner of things from watching YouTube and TikTok. A few years ago, she started her own YouTube channel and taught herself how to do video editing in Camtasia, professional video editing software. With my encouragement and guidance, she ran a business for a short while doing video editing jobs for entrepreneurs in my network. She loves art and drawing and has taught herself to draw and paint all number of things. She wanted to buy herself a drawing tablet – she did a whole heap of research and found the best value one on offer, saved up her money and went ahead to purchase it.

I am a big fan of all the “Got Talent” shows. Season 16 of America’s Got Talent has just started airing in Australia and I thoroughly enjoyed the audition of 16-year-old Aiden – who blew the judges away with an exceptional aerial act. He has been practicing his craft for just two years and has been completely self-taught from YouTube and using some sheets and other simple props around the house. He started with bed sheets at his grandmother’s house tied to a tree in her yard. He grew up feeling like he never belonged at school, struggled to read, and had low self-esteem. Thanks to YouTube, he has found his passion and a promising career.

Watch the video

Kids are capable of so much more than we allow or believe when they are given the opportunity to delve deeply in an area of interest.

One of our ScreenCoach beta trial members sums up her situation so perfectly.

“I have 3 children under 10 – but primarily my concern is my 8-year-old boy who is very tech tuned – he has been obsessed with anything electronic since he could stand up. He used an iPad to configure our home lighting system when he just turned 7 – he is very savvy – he is very interested in how everything works – and would spend hours watching YouTube videos on how to program things and how to connect devices, if we let him. As he gets older, the battle is harder – this app would be right up his alley. I’d love to harness his engineering mind while balancing the other aspects of kid life!”

These types of positive outcomes available to kids who have unfettered access to screens are to be encouraged. As long as they are well balanced and paired with other responsibilities in life such as family time and helping out around the home – which is exactly what ScreenCoach has been designed for.

Stephanie Kakris

Stephanie Kakris

Stephanie Kakris has a Masters in Psychology and is a published parenting author. She is the co-founder of ScreenCoach, a combined hardware and software platform where kids are allocated a set amount of screen time, and after their time is up, they need to go and complete activities such as exercise, chores or non-screen play to earn more time before they can resume.
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