Screen Time

Written by Jo Langford, M.A.

Not all screen time is the same, there is a difference between consuming content and creating content, interacting and escaping, learning and playing. All of these have good and bad aspects. Read below to learn some important tips and tools to engage more responsibly when on screens.

Social Media:
  • Electronic communication is good for connecting with others, though not for an active connection: good for sharing information, but not truly communicating.
  • If you are prone to attention or social challenges, anxiety, or OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) then social media can become overwhelming, and can feel like it controls you more than you control it.
  • There is zero shame in asking for help and “parental controls” don’t have to be set up by a caregiver, they can also be set by a roommate, sibling, trusted friend, or even yourself.
Screen Time:
  • Some devices and monitoring software allow you to track how much time, battery, and/or data you spend on each app and can help you improve your screen behavior.
  • Avoid notifications designed to make you check your device more frequently by turning off non-essential notifications.
  • Get rid of apps that stress you out, don’t make your life easier, distract you the most, and/or take up too much time or money.
  • If you find yourself thinking about your app(s) while trying to learn or engage with people in person, you likely are getting too distracted and should remove the app(s) or limit your use for a while.
  • Recognize and increase your awareness towards negative physical, mental, and emotional effects screen use is having on you.
Gaming:
  • Boundaries help create balance: such as no gaming between 9pm and 9am, limiting your use to weekends and non-school nights, or gaming only after you’ve met all your day-to-day responsibilities.
  • When you do game, balance out your games (platform, adventure, shooter, RPG, strategy, sports, simulation, etc.), and don’t focus on only ONE genre or flavor.
  • And, don’t forget that games that involve cards, boards, pawns, dice, and other analog aspects can be just as fun as video games and give your brain a break from the screen.