How much screen time is TOO much?


Payton Berger

A student scrolls through social media while completing her Google Classroom assignment.

Payton Berger, Sports Editor

Every Sunday morning I get the joy of receiving my weekly screen time analysis from my phone, and every week I’m still surprised by how much time I spend on the handheld device.

I’m usually quick to dismiss people talking about cell phone addiction, but ever since quarantine I’ve seen my weekly chart reach hours I’ve never had before. I often tell people I’d be fine without my phone and probably better off. However, I’m not sure how well I’d react without it. With my daily average screen time often reaching over ten hours, I’m starting to question my reliance on my phone.

I know I’m not alone in this concern, for I have friends with even higher numbers than I have. Some people around me have even turned off the notifications for their screen time report because it makes them feel guilty seeing how much time they spend on their phones.

I look at things a bit differently, though, for the notifications kind of help me remind myself to put the phone down.

The notifications help me, at least for a little. My time on Sunday and Monday are significantly lower than the rest of the week because the alert is fresh on my mind, but as the week goes on my time continues to increase.

My screen time isn’t purposeful. I really do set my mind to get things done, but my phone is a major distraction. Almost every time I sit down to do homework I get distracted by TikTok or my friends in our group chat. I even turned my vibration off on my phone, so I’m not as inclined to look at every notification.

This works sometimes, but the temptation to scroll through social media often wins.

I do think it’s important to note that it hasn’t always been this bad. Throughout high school I’ve been pretty good at avoiding my phone while doing homework, but quarantine changed everything. The lack of contact with my friends made me extremely reliant on my phone to communicate with them. Whether that be through Snapchat or FaceTime, I was always on my phone. My screen time during this time was insane, but I told myself it was okay due to the circumstances.

Honestly, things haven’t changed as much as I thought they would. Although we’re back in person at school, all of our coursework is online.

I do a considerable amount of my homework on my phone just because it’s easier than pulling out my chromebook. Classes are quieter due to masks and less group work, so, of course, we get on our phones.

With the rate we’re going, there’s not much that can be done to prevent student’s screen time. We genuinely don’t have the option to resort back to paper and pencil.

As frustrating as that might be to some people, there just isn’t an easy fix to it now.

Although we can’t necessarily stop such high numbers of screen time at school, we do have a say in how much time we spend on our phones. However, it’s not always easy to stop being on your phone as often.

These days our whole life is on a device. The phone is often our direct source of communication, and a lot of people have to have it on their person at all times.

I’d love to say I have a full proof plan of how to fix my habits, but I’m still not sure exactly what to do. I don’t even know if there is anything to do in this strange time, but I plan on making baby steps to make my screen time go down.

When I have free time, I’d love to spend it reading or journaling. Spending time with my friends by having picnics or going on walks can also help me interact with people while also staying off my phone.

There is no real way to escape my phone aside from getting rid of it, but we all know I’m not going to do that. It’s a part of my lifestyle now, and giving it up would be far from easy. I depend on it for almost everything, and I’m not really embarrassed by saying that.

I think this excessive screen time might be our future whether we like the idea or not.

Technology is everywhere and it’s hard to escape, but it’s also not always a bad thing. Using technology to keep updated on the news, interact with friends and family in a safe way, and even just using it as a form of escapism are totally okay.

Rather than beating myself up over my screen time, I hope to use it in a positive way and still take occasional breaks from it.