Some months into the pandemic, Kanika Harris gave up on her video game rule.
The director of maternal health for the nonprofit Black Women’s Health Imperative, Dr. Harris had been working remotely from her home in Washington, D.C., while her 3-year-old twins played in a learning pod in the basement. Her 8-year-old, Tezi, had been at home for months, and his youth basketball league had shut down – along with the play dates, the neighborhood picnics, and the extended family get-togethers. Her son was bored. He wanted to connect with other children.
And Dr. Harris just didn’t have the energy to argue. She is a Black woman in a pandemic that has disproportionately affected Black women, both physically and economically, during a moment of racial reckoning that has required even more painful conversations with Black children. Family members were losing jobs, friends were getting sick, work was intense, and the laundry and cooking seemed to never end.
Why We Wrote This
How has the pandemic shaped views on the best way to raise children? A year of fewer options may have uncovered choices where parents thought they had none.
So she and her husband agreed to let Tezi play Fortnite, the multiplayer video game.
“Before, it was, ‘Oh, Fortnite. We don’t do that,’” she says. “And we’d judge other parents for it. And now my son is totally addicted. We’re wrestling with that. But it’s hard to get your only break of the day and be,…