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Screen time connects kids with friends

Every afternoon Flora, 9, and Kate, 10, turn on their laptops and iPads to collaborate on a play called “World War III,” a futuristic tale of two sisters who try to save the world after being blown back in time by a bomb.

The close friends, who live a couple miles apart in St. Paul, Minnesota, used to hang out together to dream up dialogue and plot twists. Now, separated by coronavirus social distancing measures, they Skype on one screen and, on the other, type in a Google doc.

No longer able to meet up with friends at the movies or the mall, Flora’s brother Brodie, 15, stays in touch on FaceTime and Snapchat and through online games Minecraft and Rainbow Six Siege. He says communicating online with high school pals helps him cope with real-world worries about the coronavirus. 

“A lot of us have talked about how we’re not worried about our own health and safety, we are more worried for our parents and our grandparents. It’s scary that we could lose someone close to us,” Brodie says. “It helps just to have some sort of connection and to talk with people about life and how I feel.”

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