The Impact of Screen Time

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Mia Guertin

This is a picture of a school provided chrome book and it’s screen.

Mia Guertin, Staff Reporter

The average time that teens spend on screens is seven hours. When puzzling over this statistic it makes sense, we are stuck on the computers and screens all day due to online school and that doesn’t include the times we spend on our phones and social media. Hours on end of school work on a screen has some negative effects. From mental health, sleep schedules being off, and the physical impacts as well. 

Counselor Shanna Crooks says, “We shouldn’t be on screens more than two or three hours a day. We should hang out with family and friends, exercise. Obviously we can’t do that, we’re missing a healthy balance. We need to eat right and go outside, and have our emotional needs met.”

Excessive screen time is well known to mess with your mental health. It causes you to be more distracted and is known to lead to anxiety and struggles that come with your health. Sitting around on a screen isn’t always ethical. Freshman Alyssa Acosta said, “I’ve been a lot more stressed, there are negative vibes. It’s hard because you’re always on the screen and negative feelings come with that and mess  with happiness.” 

If we increase being around nature and getting out in the sun and taking a break from our screens, it will help counter the impact of screen time. Just getting out in a safe place and moving is known to decrease stress.

 Because of the mental aspect of screen time, it has affected some people’s sleep schedules. The light on a screen can mess with someone’s internal body clock and if you’re on the screen for extended periods of time then your sleep schedule is guaranteed to be off.

“I struggle falling asleep at night. I have issues winding down from being on screens and motivation for online school is getting worse and online school I get sidetracked because I want to do something that isn’t school work… So I go to bed at 11 to relax and wind down from schoolwork able to sleep late because of how late school starts. So I would say I get about 8 to 9 hours.”Acosta said. 

Being on screens makes you prone to not be ready for sleep which confuses your body. So, a good way to lower screen time is to not go on screens right before bed or have it be the first thing you do when you wake up. 

When thinking about the amount of screen time the first thing that comes to mind is how our eyes hurt and the headaches that come with the brightness of screens and that will take a toll. Being stuck online for school and sitting all day causes bad posture, shoulder aches, headaches, and sore eyes. 

Health teacher Julie Martin said, “I’m used to walking around and hanging out with students, not just sitting in my chair all day. 

“The brightness definitely affects the eyes,” sophomore Kaitlyn Swanson said. 

Ritika Khanal a student journalist at Mountlake Terrace High School said, “Zoom can be tiring, I didn’t realize sitting at a chair is tiring but it definitely is.”

We can’t change the situation of online school but there are ways to help the physical aspect to screens. The number one thing is giving yourself a break from school work and stretching. Consider the  20-20-20 rule. Every twenty minutes take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This helps with fatigue and eye strain which will help prevent headaches and protect your eyes. 

In general, screen time takes a big impact on us but we have to have hope that things will be better. It’s all about balance and making sure our personal needs are met so If you’re reading this today, this is your personal message, go take care of yourself.