Screen Time

I’m going to divulge all of my horrible habits publicly. Actually, I’m really not, but I am going to admit to my screen time report. Some of you may not realize, but your mobile device can report your actual screen time in minutes, or in my case, hours. I don’t really feel all that embarrassed because I know I’m not alone in this social dilemma that electronics have created. As I glance at my phone, the amount of things I use it for is pretty insane. Banking, grocery shopping, work emails, travel plans, communication, home security, calendar, news, games, photos, and the list goes on and on. Amazon is categorized in a folder of its own, which includes shopping, video streaming and music. Everything is at the touch of a fingerprint, logged in by facial recognition. 

Here’s my report from last week:

Total average screen time per day: 4 hours, 22 minutes. Here is the breakdown. Messages make up the bulk of it (text messages): 3 hours, 11 minutes. This is pretty realistic because none of my family lives close, I have two children and let’s face it, that’s their communication style. I’m in a group text with my best friends, my employees, and I’m also single, so there’s that. Next up is Information/Reading and this is 18 minutes per day (I Google a lot, and I’m also trying to learn Italian via Duolingo), 10 minutes for Productivity and Finance, 9 minutes for Creativity (not sure what that is. Maybe that’s my Snapchat artistry). And so on. I implore you to click on your mobile device settings and find your screen time report before reading on.

You might want to consider the relationship between screen time and your health. My first thought would be my eyesight. I went into reading glasses just this past year, but I really do think my computer screen is much to blame. If we examine this further, screen time makes us sedentary. Unless you’re on the elliptical with your device streaming Netflix or music, the likelihood of just sitting around is pretty high. We already have a national obesity crisis and this is just adding to it. If you’re like me, you probably have your cell phone charging on the bedroom nightstand. It’s easy for me to wind down at night with my phone in hand. I’m not a huge social media follower but I do find myself perusing the recent episodes of my friend’s lives. The light emitted from the screen can actually mess with your brain’s sleep cycle. Chronic neck and back pain are becoming the norm for so many people and my suspicion is that no one really considers posture when scrolling through the obligatory weekend photo updates of our friend’s lives. Sadly, the reality of too much screen time can also trigger depression and anxiety. As if we need anything else to generate depression today. 

If you happen to have found the screen time report on your mobile device like I’d suggested, and you don’t really like the cold hard truth of what it revealed, I have some proposals to help you either get that time down, or utilize it in a more healthy and efficient way. If you’re browsing through social media daily, do it while you’re on the treadmill. If you’re reading the news on your device, find a news station that you can listen to instead and incorporate that time into your daily exercise routine. Commit to turning your device off one hour before bedtime. This doesn’t mean you can’t grab a book or do something relaxing for your downtime, it just assists your brain in decompressing before bedtime. Quality sleep and adequate rest is imperative to a healthy mind and body. Pay attention to your posture when sitting in front of the computer, television or holding your phone. Lastly, stay on top of your emotions. If you’re looking at something that provokes irritation or frustration, make a pledge to remove it, put your device down or whatever you need to do, to eliminate the trigger. Just because my cell plan has unlimited data, doesn’t mean I have to utilize it. Right? 

~Shannon Hadeed

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