Screen Time

Cecile Walsh, Editor in Chief

According to the Washington Post, the average screen time for teenagers is 7 hours and 22 minutes, and for 8-12 year olds, it is about 4 hours and 44 minutes. 7 hours is approximately 30% of a 24-hour long day, just spent on screens. While some efforts have been made to shorten screen time, such as Apple’s setting that can limit your time on certain apps, various things compel people to stare at the screen for more time, such as Youtube or Netflix’s autoplay, which plays videos immediately after the previous video was shown unless the viewer manually stops it. 

A common thought keeps people from decreasing their screen time: what’s so bad about it? Studies from Very Well Family show that too much screen time can lead to obesity due to the lack of exercise from sitting in front of a tv all day. Sleep problems are also possible, because the light coming from the screen tends to keep the brain awake, and this disrupts sleep and can often lead to insomnia. Children who spend more than two hours each day on the TV or computer can develop behavioral issues are more likely to suffer from attention, emotional, and sociable issues. Children with more access to TV also have tested worse than those who are more limited. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children may start to believe the violent behaviors shown in television are okay, causing them to resort to violence when solving things. 

Ways to reduce screen time are much easier than some may expect, it is just a matter of keeping up with them. On iOS devices, you can check your pickups in the screen time setting, and seeing the high amount of times you check your device may encourage you to resist checking that snapchat notification every now and then. Deleting the apps you use most often may seem most helpful, but chances are, you’re just going to download them again. One way to limit usage but still have the apps is moving them somewhere other than the homescreen, so if you pick up your phone to google something, you don’t end up spending the next 45 minutes on TikTok. Eating meals without a screen is also a helpful option, because often when we eat with a screen on hand, we get distracted and forget about the food going into our bodies. Also, it allows us to have some face-to-face time with our families and to talk about our days. Watching Netflix in our beds is often something people look forward to, but the temptation of watching the next episode increases significantly if we’re already snuggly in our beds as opposed to on the couch, forcing us to move and maybe put the phone away while we’re at it. Banning charging phones in the bedroom is another beneficial idea, because that way we don’t end up scrolling through Instagram for hours, but go to bed instead. 

As you can see, there are many options for taking better care of ourselves by limiting the amount of hours we spend on our phone, and most of them don’t even require that much outside effort. Phones may be more tempting than other things, but just keep in mind how many more benefits go into reducing screen time than the consequences.