Students Need to Step Away From Their Screens


Nate Taylor

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students found it harder to resist being on their screens. Students spend more time playing video games and scrolling through social media platforms during the time they would normally be at school.

Bia Shok, Staff Writer

After California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered residents to limit social interaction outside of a household, more students have been turning to entertainment on Netflix, TikTok and Instagram. However, students need to find healthier alternatives to decrease their inflated screen time and reduce the risk of negative health effects.

Common Sense Media published a study in 2019 that found the average time a teen spends on their screens, excluding homework, is around seven hours per day.

IUSD, among other school districts, recently switched to Emergency Distance Learning, which requires students to use technology for assignment access in all subjects.

Also, the new EDL program makes us use our devices for schoolwork, too. On Saturday, I found that my phone usage was up by 37%”

— James Cho

From the extra free time students get from the transition, students are more tempted to be on their devices more often.

“I have only been at home for the past week, so I find myself looking at my computer or my phone a lot more often,” sophomore James Cho said. “Also, the new EDL program makes us use our devices for schoolwork, too. On Saturday, I found that my phone usage was up by 37%.”

Because students largely surpass the two-hour screen time recommendation by the American Heart Association, more students could be at risk for mental and physical health issues. 

Students of ages 14 to 17 that use their screens for more than seven hours a day were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, treated by a mental health professional or have taken medication for a psychological or behavioral issue, according to an article published in the journal of Preventive Medicine Reports. 

With the current generation of students being more familiar with technology, there is a need for individuals to understand the consequences of digital usage. Instead of scrolling through Instagram meaninglessly, students can instead develop new hobbies or practice self-care. Going on a walk alone or with a family member, reading a book on the booklist or doing an at-home workout are all great ways to practice self-isolation and limit screen time.

If students have difficulty limiting their screen time at first, students can install screen time limiting apps to assist them in monitoring the time spent on devices. Students can even set goals to slowly reduce their screen time by an hour or thirty minutes every week. 

Even at times of chaos, it is important for students to remain engaged in their schoolwork and stay healthy both physically and mentally issues.