Sheltering at home in a post-screen world

Millions of people are at home with their kids these days, during this pandemic. The kids can’t go to school, the parents need to work from home (if they are still employed), and the entire family needs to make do.

A lot of people have been writing about families sheltering at home and their relationship to screens. How much screen time should kids have? What is the line between school and play, the balance between hanging out with friends and roaming the internet?

Does the internet help or hurt? How does it relate to parents and kids sharing quality time together without everyone going crazy?

Suppose we lived in the future world that Vernor Vinge describes in Rainbows End. In the morning everyone pops in their contact lenses, and sees an augmented reality seamlessly integrated with their physical surroundings.

In such a world we might not be talking about screen time. In a sense, there would be no screens, since the real and the virtual would just be seamlessly woven together.

How would this change the dynamic of families sheltering at home? Would it provide a way to promote togetherness, or would it simply create new sorts of barriers between family members?

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