Screen time guilt during a pandemic

Screen time guilt during a pandemic

It’s been over a month since most of us have been working from home. On top of that, many families have children at home from school and university doing online schooling or learning. We at the Literacy Council are staying at home and doing our part, a lot of which includes screen time.

During the weekdays I’m usually on my laptop working on reports, doing video meetings with coworkers, and creating new resources. In my free time I try to get outside and do something active each day. I’ve been baking a lot more than usual, getting into some arts and crafts, getting through my book pile. I’m attempting to grow some house plants (and hopefully keep them alive). Even with all of these activities much of my time is being spent on screens or online.  I’ve binged Tiger King on Netflix, and probably watched more episodes of 90 Day Fiancé than anyone needs to see in their lifetime. I’ve also used my screen time to play games and chat with friends on apps like House Party. This past week was NWT Literacy Week, most of which was hosted online through our Facebook page. One of our activities was an online book club, where people shared reviews of books they have been reading. It was the perfect way to combine the use of technology to create a community online, with an activity people could do offline.

Although I have felt guilty for all the TV and movie watching I’ve been doing, in times like these I think it’s important that we aren’t too hard on ourselves, or our children, for how much we are using screens and technology. This technology is helping us survive and connect during these uncertain times. It’s helping many people stay employed, educated and connected with family and loved ones. It’s helping to keep children occupied so parents can still take important phone calls and do their work. It’s keeping people entertained and in their homes. It’s helping seniors who can no longer have visitors get to hear the voices and see the faces of their family members and friends.

That being said, it’s still important to take breaks from screen time. Take note of when you may need to log off for mental health breaks. Pay attention to how you are using your screen time. Using it for work, education, and socializing with family might be necessary, but make sure you take breaks from entertainment, social media and anything else that might become draining. We are all living a new reality.  It’s important to keep this in mind. Yes, we are using screens and technology more than we’d normally want to, but – for now -- it’s okay!

For tips on how to navigate screen time for your children during social distancing please click here.

Looking to balance screen time with some other activities? The NWT Literacy Council has a variety of different family literacy resources that you and your family can do together at home. Check out some of our resources like Recipes for Fun to make Edible Finger Paint, Goop and Cloud Dough, Storymakers for making Invisible Stories, Story-disc Chains and Story Maps, and 25 More Recipes for Fun to make Fizzy Paint, Hot Chocolate Cloud Dough and No-Bake Clay.


  • Charlotte Upton

Family and Community Literacy Coordinator

Canada Learning Bond Coordinator

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