With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first lockdown in Israel, came a shutdown of economic activity, and a complete closure of the educational frameworks in the country. As a result, families were forced to spend extended periods at home. The confinement and pressure-cooker atmosphere caused many parents to park their children in front of the television or other screens – an easy solution with potentially negative consequences for the health and welfare of children like weight-gain, problems with sleeping, and developmental lags.
The study by the Taub Center examined the frequency of screen use among families with young children during the lockdown and found that as parents experienced more stress – whether as a result of losing their place of employment or the need to juggle work and childcare – their children were exposed to lengthier periods in front of screens. It was also found that the feelings of stress were more common among families from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and among the Arab population, as well as among children to parents without an academic education. However, when controlling for parental education, it was found that Arab children actually spent less time in front of screens.