School districts lack policies regarding in-school screen time

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Parents are pummeled by suggestions from experts to limit screen time for our kids. While some make the effort at home, more and more schools are incorporating tech into instruction. However, our school districts don’t have specific policies to limit that screen time.

As of now, Charleston County, Berkeley County, and Dorchester District 2 use a common-sense approach to make sure students are not in front of screens all day.

“Everything in moderation is good and with an intended use I think it’s even better,” said Sarah Epps.

Epps has three children in the CCSD and thinks her children are getting an appropriate amount of screen time, and thinks a policy would add a layer of micromanagement of teachers.

Still, other parents told News 2 that their children complain of headaches, and eye-strain because of the exposure to tech throughout the day.

CCSD board member Kate Darby doesn’t think a specific policy is a way to go but understands why parents would be concerned.

“We ought to look toward some kind of standard practice or procedure that we use,” said Darby. “I think the key is using the technology with instruction, obviously we don’t want kids, you know, here is your iPad and check back with you an hour later, that’s not how we want to do things.”

Screen time in school is coupled with screen time at home. That is where psychiatrist Dr. Ricardo Fermo says parents need to be vigilant. He says it’s a real addiction that can lead to insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Curbing it, starts with us.

“It’s not just the kids, we’re addicted too,” said Fermo. “We have to cut back and show them and we have to discuss the content that they’re watching.”

As for a difference between educational screen time, and general entertainment, Fermo says there is just not enough research available to say there is a difference.

DD2 board members say students in grades three through five will be getting electronic devices next school year. Board Chair Tanya Robinson says the board and administration are working on policies and guidelines for how they will be used.

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