Only eight months ago, having a ten hour average of screen time a day sounded insane, however, now it has become a reality. Due to online school there has been an increase of daily screen time; this has caused some concern across the world. Many students used to be on screens for as little as two hours total a day; now people are on screens for as long as 12 hours a day. As children, many people remember having screen time limited to an hour a day; now children spend hours and hours on devices. Screen time might not have been a need a few months ago, but now we need it for school, to talk to our friends, get out of our head, and even just to work out.
CNN states that the researchers from a study surveyed more than 28,000 seventh grade students using students from 27 school districts in British Columbia. These researches go on to say “students with no extracurricular activities tended to have high levels of screen time, for example. And they expected girls would score higher on negative mental health indicators, as previous research has found that they tend to have higher levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety compared to boys” (Asmelash). This happens every day for both boys and girls; they compare themselves to models or other people. When girls see a girl with a different body image, then it can cause them to feel less than or not pretty enough; sadly causing them to skip meals or feel like they need to workout after every meal. Whereas guys may see models or people online that have more muscle than them or notice that people in the class can bench four times the amount they can and feel bad about themselves. When you feel this way, always remember that you are loved and important!
A senior at Tumwater says that she spends around 14 hours a day just on her on her phone. Overall, she probably spends around 16 hours total doing all of her school work, being on her phone, and playing games on her computer. She talks about how when there was normal school, her screen time was only seven hours or so. She says, “I know the amount of time I spend on my phone is extremely unhealthy, but it’s my way of life. I’ve made lots of great online friends, and I’m able to communicate with my real life friends through social media as well.” She also talks about how when she’s not on a screen you can find her either driving, sleeping, or showering. This may not seem like many things, but when you think about it, most people tend to do everything while looking at the screen. She says that she loves talking to her friends, “watching memes and videos on social media”; she also states that she has never had the problem with the screen being taken away; she just needs social interaction. She mentions “[she] recently spent 8 days in a mental hospital, where they didn’t allow cell phones to be used. I didn’t have any problem giving up my phone, and I never felt any kind of “withdrawals”. While I was there, I got the social interaction that I needed, which I normally get from using my phone. I think the reason I use my phone and computer so much is because I crave social interaction, especially during this pandemic.” Lastly she says that screens have never been the reason why she has felt depressed or mentally not okay, they were always a way for her to connect with her friends, connect with her friends she has, and just for pure enjoyment.
A junior at Tumwater High School says that when he’s not on screens he’s, “hanging out with [his] friends and working out”. His screen time is only nine hours a day including school and homework. His most used app is YouTube where he enjoys watching sports and car videos. He also states that, “When I’m on my phone I feel normal, just chillin’ depends on if I’m listening to music or whatnot”. His favorite music is rap, but he listens to all genres of music and his favorite rapper is Lil Uzi Vert. Like the senior before, he just wants to hangout with friends and wants things to go back to normal.
A sophomore at Tumwater High School says she spends as little as 3-4 hours on her phone! Although she spends around eight to ten hours total overall. She says that when she is on a screen it causes her to feel “stressed out, anxious, lonely, bored, and tired”. This is a common thing a lot of people feel especially now that we are doing online school. She states that when she is not on a screen you can find her “reading, playing piano, playing volleyball, working out, going on walks and baking”. When she is on a screen she spends most of her time doing homework and school work, though when she is on her phone she uses Snapchat and Spotify the most. She also talks about how screen time has changed this year compared to any regular year she says, “Definitely [my screen time has changed] because I am stuck at home and my phone is the only way to communicate with people, and school takes up a huge chunk of time online as well”. So this is why she loves to hang out with family, exercise and go on walks with her best friends! She also says that “I just prefer being with people in-person and all the notifications to check is hard to keep up with and I don’t want to waste time on my phone, but also I don’t want to be isolated and not have any communication.”
Screen time has taken a huge toll on Tumwater High School students and students all over the country. It has become the most used thing nowadays, we use it for school work, entertainment, workouts, Christmas shopping, and to talk to friends and family. It seems like everything done in today’s society involves a screen, even for those who do a sport have to do a digital Covid check in (Covid check in is where people fill out a form saying that they are healthy and don’t have Covid). All this additional screen time has caused students to have anxiety, mental health issues, and depression. But on the contrary, screen time is also a way that many use to find enjoyment on a daily basis. So it is very important to be careful and make sure that your screen time is being used responsibly to ensure the mental state of Tumwater students is being made a priority. Every so often try going outside for a walk or a bike ride or even just turn off your screen for a couple of minutes and enjoy something around you.