How to keep your kid digitally healthy

Improve your child’s at-home learning experience by watching for things like eye strain and video fatigue.

When Salt Lake City schools closed in March, Farah Hamoodi, a health promotion specialist at a global nonprofit, wasn’t sure how to manage her kids’ tech time when classrooms went virtual.

Her five-year-old wasn't engaging with her preschool videos, and her 13-year-old struggled with time management. When her eldest started spending a lot of time on social media and experiencing headaches and eye problems, Hamoodi decided to set limits on her phone and computer use. “I want her to spend time doing other things,” she says. “But there are also good things about being online,” like developing new computer skills and socializing with friends.

Hamoodi is one of millions of parents grappling with how to balance their children’s increase in digital usage with their physical and mental well-being. This fall, about 60 percent of K-12 public school students in the United States will be attending school remotely, and as classrooms move online and extracurriculars are on hold, experts agree kids are spending more time on screens. But increased technology use isn’t inherently good or bad.