Screen Time During Social Distancing

In a world where most Americans are either working from home, or unemployed, the idea of getting fresh air is more important than ever right now. It’s super easy to fall into ‘zombie mode’ where screens and monitors dictate our every thought. Whether it be Netflix, Google Docs, or even Video Games, our screens will bully us out of our sanity.

We understand that there is no escaping these screens. Most of the states in our country are facing necessary “shelter in place” orders. Making there be little or nothing to do at home which doesn’t involve staring at a phone, laptop, or television.

Making dramatic changes to your screen time during a pandemic is unrealistic. Rather than focusing on decreasing screen time, we must set some guidelines. For every 50 minutes spent working on a screen, an adult should spend 10 minutes doing something not involving a screen. This could be as simple as meditating, reading a book, exercising, or doing something in the outdoors. Adults should never spend more than 3 consecutive hours in front of their screen. Under our guidelines such use would dictate 30 minutes of non-screen activity before getting back to the laptop or smart phone.

Many adults will try to rationalize their use by saying work demands it. What they don’t understand is that by taking necessary screen breaks, they are likely to become much more productive employees of their company. Following our guidelines will make employees move less like a zombie and with much more grace.

With children and teens more aggressive measures must be taken. The youth generally are not spending time in front of screens at home in order to make money. They must get 20 minutes of “screen free” time for every 40 minutes in front of a screen. Young people should not go more than 2 consecutive hours staring at a screen without taking a 1-hour break.

Many critics will say these measures are too loose, but they do not understand the culture our kids live in. They were raised by technology and don’t know any other way of living. Also, the world feels like it is melting around them, so kids should have the freedom to at least sit down and distract themselves with a movie. After watching a movie, scrolling on TikTok, or playing 2 hours of video games, kids should go play outside, play a board game, read a book, or do something else that doesn’t involve a screen.

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