I would like to share this article written by Illinois Extension intern Sharon Kim. Sharon says:
Screens seem to be everywhere in the form of phones, laptops, tablets, and even watches. We have to think about how we function in an environment with screens constantly being utilized in our lives.
According to the CDC, children ages 8-10 have a screen usage time of around six hours. Pre-teens and early teenagers spend around nine hours a day in front of a screen. Older teens spend around 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen. We have to ask ourselves: what effect excessive does screen usage have on us?
It is in our boredom we think of creative and innovative ideas. Therefore, if we replace free time with being online, there is a negative impact on our ability to use our imagination and express ourselves.
Another effect that excessive screen time can have on us is our inability to get quality sleep. Staying up to view our screens gives us less time to get the deep sleep that sets us up for the next day.
Our ability to focus is also stunted when it comes to viewing screens constantly. This stops us from doing our best in classes or work. Our future work and school performances can then be jeopardized if this pattern continues.
One cannot talk about screen time without talking about social media. Within the younger generation, social media presence seems to be essential when being in touch with friends. However, social media can lead to a handful of issues that affect people’s mental health. They include anxiety, depression, self-image issues, etc.
Ways to reduce screen time
There are a few ways to help you and your children reduce screen time. They include, but are not limited to:
- Find alternative hobbies you actually enjoy to pass the time.
- Set screen time limits on phone apps in your settings.
- Create family rules restricting the use of devices after certain times of the day or during mealtimes.
- Avoid viewing your phone right before bed. Place your phone in a different room from where you are sleeping.
If you want more information about screen usage to read or share with others, check the following websites: Valleywise Health Blog, Mayo Clinic Health System, New York Presbyterian Health Matters, UW Medicine Right as Rain, and the University of Nevada-Reno.
Cheri Burcham is responsible for family life programming in the counties of Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie, Shelby and other parts of east central Illinois as needed. Cheri’s emphasis is on healthy lifestyles throughout the life span which include family relationships, communication, caregiving, stress management and human development including early childhood and healthy aging. Her passion is to help people to be their best selves and to promote a healthier, independent older population.