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What Is The Difference Between Active And Passive Screen Time For Teens?

There is no doubt that our screen time consumption has increased in lockdown as we turn to technology to keep us entertained, connected with friends and family and updated on the outside world.

For students, too, a further element of screen time comes in their everyday education as classes and homework move online. But how much screen time is too much? Here, MyTutor – the UK’s leading online tutoring service – provides help for parents who are worried about their teen’s screen time:

1. Finding their 5-a-day

Making the most of tech is a bit like having a healthy diet. Adam Alter, Social Psychologist and author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked” says, “It’s important to eat healthy foods alongside candy and dessert, and the same is true of the ’empty calories’ that come from spending too much time passively gazing at screens.”

So like dessert, ‘bad’ screen time should be balanced with ‘healthy’ screen time – and keeping the balance is much better than banning tech altogether.

2. Know the ‘good’ screen time from the ‘bad’

Psychologists divide the way we use tech into two categories – passive and active screen time. Active screen time is when we are learning, bending our minds, doing something creative or video chatting to another person.

Passive screen time is when we’re vegging out, watching a film or scrolling absent-mindedly through social media. Active screen time is the healthy part of the screen time diet, and ideally it should outweigh the amount of passive screen time they spend.

3. How much is too much?

With school work being moved online during lockdown, your teen might be glued to their computer whether they want to be or not. In between socialising, gaming and watching Netflix, you’ll be surprised if their eyes don’t go square. They should still have time to spend being active, connecting with friends in-person, and enjoying screen-free time with family.

As a parent, you’re the best person to tell if your teen needs more time away from their screen. Here are some tell-tale signs that they need a change:

  • They’re finding it hard to concentrate on off-screen activities like reading and writing

  • They have a meltdown when separated from their phone

  • They avoid spending time in-person with friends and family

About MyTutor

MyTutor is the UK’s leading online tutoring service. Parents and students can choose from over 30 subjects to keep and encourage learning from home. Pupils can learn fun new topics, revise old ones, and be guided through by friendly subject experts. Only one in eight tutors who apply make it on to their platform, and parents can choose the best match for their child.

They are all subject experts from top UK universities, and MyTutor only choose those who will do the best job. They have a student base of 30,000 and 12,000 hand-picked tutors; and these numbers are always growing. Additionally, MyTutor work with over 450 schools to supplement learning in the classroom.

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