Too Much Screen Time

Too Much Screen Time

Gabby Ostad ’21

Has your screen time more than doubled since you’ve been learning at home? Do you have trouble falling asleep at night because of all the blue light that you were exposed to during the day? If the answer is yes to either or both of those questions, you are not alone. As the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in school closures across the country, technology has enabled us to continue our learning via Zoom. Although our overall class time has become shorter, I find myself more tired and find my eyes feeling drained daily. 

Our eyes are weak muscles, unlike our arm muscles. Once our vision gets worse, we can never restore it to the level we once had. For this reason, I am extremely concerned about my eyesight during these couple of weeks. I’m worried that the abundance of screen time will worsen our sight, and we will not be able to restore it. 

Prior to online school, I would shut off my phone during school and would mostly use it during lunch. My screen time average on my phone was typically three and a half hours daily. However, since being home, my screen time on my phone has doubled to seven hours, and that does not include the hours I spend on the computer for classes and doing homework. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that teens limit themselves to a maximum of two hours of screen time a day. Research has connected screen time with an increased amount of inactive behavior in children and teens. There is also significant evidence that associates screen time with obesity.

I find my eyes feeling strained daily. I typically do my homework on paper and rarely look at screens. However, given the current situation, I am not left with many options. 

Staring at the screen truly hurts my eyes. My eyes are unable to look at the screen and keep closing. When I take a break from the computer and go to look outside, my eyes begin to burn. I have also gotten many headaches from staring at screens. 

I have personally taken a few steps to help maintain my eyesight and reduce my screen time. One step I have taken to help the situation is wearing blue light glasses during class time and when doing homework on the computer. These glasses help protect your eyes by filtering out 40% of the blue light emitted by screens. If you are looking for a pair, check These glasses help my eyes feel comfortable when staring at screens. To help reduce my screen time on my phone I have added time limits to apps. Every time I click on the app after I’ve reached the limit, it reminds me that I have used my screen time for that day and asks if I want to add time. Although this may sound like a small detail, it significantly helps me reduce my screen time. When the application does not immediately appear on my phone, I lose interest and turn off my phone. In addition, it may be difficult to fall asleep after looking at screens all day, so despite the cliché, reading a book to refocus your mind before bed will help you go to sleep.

If this is just for the short-term, I can deal with it for now. However, I ask that the administration revisit other ways of teaching through Zoom or with assignments that do not involve using screens alone. Our health is as important as our education.