Parents in Alaska say that their children are getting more screen time and lesser exercise ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, according to a recent survey from the state’s health department.

Amongst the 1085 individuals who took part in the survey, 770 of them identified themselves as parents or guardians. 

Key results of the survey:

  • 78% of them revealed that their children were getting more screen time than they did prior to the pandemic
  • The increased screen time was observed in activities other than those that were school-related
  • Compared to the rest, the middle-schoolers got the maximum increased screen time after the pandemic
  • At least six in 10 (60%) of the survey respondents conveyed that their wards spent lesser time getting involved in physical activities
  • 98% of them said they avoided get-togethers with individuals other than members of their household since the pandemic
  • 85% said they stayed very close to their homes and 89.83% of the parents revealed that they avoided playgrounds

The main reason behind this trend of increased screen time and decreased physical activity, according to experts, can be attributed to the fact that schools and child care centers remain closed, after-school programs are closed, and the kids are unable to get out in groups to play with their friends.

Moreover, parents are working from their home and they have to juggle between their jobs, their children, and their kids' remote schooling. Not everyone might have the luxury to send their wards into the backyard to play or let them head over to a neighborhood park that is safe.

“Right now, is a super challenging time for parents and kids and families. Everybody’s routine has been disrupted. It’s hard to fit it all into the day. Given all that, we’re not surprised by our findings,” Karol Fink, director of the physical activity and nutrition program at the state health department told Anchorage Daily News.

“When it comes to screen time, there are parental controls. Plus, it’s OK for kids to be bored. It’s an opportunity for skills and creativity — puzzles, sewing, or other projects — even though it’s hard to turn away from screens sometimes. Parents need to be kind to themselves and set reasonable expectations,” Fink added.

children-403582_1920 increased screen time and decreased phsyical activity in children during the pandemic Photo: mojzagrebinfo, Pixabay