Alaska parents fear dangers of increased screen time amid COVID-19

    Despite many more hours of free time, warming spring temperatures and increased sunshine, Alaska kids are getting less physical activity and spending more time with video games, smart phones and streaming movies.

    Alaska’s not alone. Nationally parent advocacy groups are warning that endless screen time is putting kids in danger of viewing pornography, suffering online bullying and sexual predation.

    A new study of 750 Alaska parents from the state health department reports that three in four parents are concerned that the pandemic is harming their child’s physical health. Even more are anxious about their child’s mental state.


    The survey includes parents from every region of Alaska, but 70% were from Anchorage, Mat-Su and Fairbanks.

    Another study from late April to early May shows that more than 60% of Alaska parents say their child is less physically activity during the pandemic. That’s a troubling to Karol Fink, registered dietitian and manager of Alaska’s Physical Activity and Nutrition program.

    “Daily activity can really help relieve the stresses that children might be feeling right now,” she said. “The same goes for adults. Physical activity can improve your mood and reduce your stress and feelings of depression.”

    Fink noted that kids enjoy immediate positive results from just one session of activity. It can lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels and help with a good night’s sleep.

    Nationally, the vast majority of parents are concerned about the massive spike in their child’s screen time during the pandemic.

    In the survey completed between April 22 and May 4, 78% of Alaska parents said their child gets far more non-academic screen time than before the pandemic. This includes time in front of a TV, computer, smart phone, or other electronic device watching shows, playing games, accessing the internet, or browsing social media.

    Nationally, the vast majority of parents are concerned about the massive spike in their child’s screen time during the pandemic.

    A recent study by ParentsTogether, a national parent-led organization with over 2 million members, surveyed 3,000 parents. Nearly half of respondents’ kids (48%) spend more than six hours a day online (a nearly 500% increase from before the crisis). The vast majority of the online use was non-educational with YouTube, Netflix and TikTok being the most prominent mediums.

    “More than half of parents are worried that their children are or will become addicted to online activity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” the survey reports. “Many survey respondents told stories about the harms their children have encountered online during social isolation, ranging from bullying to sexual predation.”

    Popular podcaster Johnathon van Maren of The van Maren Show, dedicates his podcast to supporting the pro-life and pro-family movement.

    This is the perfect opportunity to talk to your children about the danger pornography poses to their future, minds, and souls.

    In a May 12 column for LifeSiteNews he warned that increased screen time exposes kids to entertainment that is infused with sexual and progressive agendas.

    “The porn industry is specifically targeting children by tagging hardcore porn content with the names of characters from Disney films and Paw Patrol,” he said. “Experts are now warning parents that they should have filters on their digital devices (I recommend Covenant Eyes) and that they should be watching their children very carefully, especially if they are spending more time using a device in the bathroom or during the night. Those are key, tell-tale signs that the child is viewing pornography.”

    He encourages open conversations with kids about online dangers and then oversee their activity.

    “This is the perfect opportunity to talk to your children about the danger pornography poses to their future, minds, and souls,” Maren said. “I know that the temptation for many parents right now is to put their kids in front of screens to distract them for a while or gain a few hours’ respite from an exhausting and hectic day. If you are doing that, please, please be watching what they are watching like a hawk.”

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