I’ve always considered myself a socially-engaged person. I don’t check my phone when I’m out to dinner, and I don’t even have a Twitter account. Then, I saw my screen time report last week. Let me tell you, it did NOT pass the vibe check. It was almost five hours a day. I was spending a 40-hour workweek on my phone. Sure, some of it was related to coursework, but most of it consisted of checking election polls and scrolling social media pointlessly to avoid doing homework.
According to Scripps Health, the average adult spends 11 hours a day in front of a screen. This has skyrocketed during the pandemic, with people increasingly relying on Zoom, FaceTime, and other applications to socialize and complete tasks for work and school. With campuses across the country feeling dead, it’s easy to watch a couple extra episodes of your favorite show on Netflix or binge TikToks until your head starts to throb. Studies have shown that this isn’t without consequence. Scripps Health reports that excessive screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, insomnia, and even depression and anxiety. Here are some simple ways to pull the plug on your favorite devices.
Turn off Notifications
Even though some types of notifications, like texts from your mom, should be answered right away, a lot of them don’t need to be. Turning off notifications for games and social media apps might be all it takes to keep you from zoning out when you should be paying attention to class or work. It’ll encourage you to only check those apps when you want to, rather than every time a notification reminds you they exist.
Delete Useless or Problematic Apps
Sometimes I wish there was a roadblock to stop me from going down the road to procrastination. Deleting your favorite games or social media apps acts as that roadblock. If I really need to check something, all it takes is going onto the App Store, redownloading, and logging back in. But most of the time, I just go right back to whatever I was supposed to be doing. If this is too extreme, logging out of your social media apps can provide a similar barrier.
Set Time Limits for Apps
If you lack self-control, your phone can help you. iPhones allow you to set time limits for apps under the Screen Time tab in settings. You can regulate the number of hours you can spend on certain apps everyday. It gives you options like “One More Minute” or “Remind Me in 15 Minutes” if you need to finish sending a snap or typing a comment. It makes you more aware of the time you’re spending online.
Desígnate Time to Disconnect
One of the healthiest ways to cut down on screen time is by designating specific times to spend off of your phone. These could be individual or group activities like going for a run on campus, reading a book that doesn’t pertain to your major, or setting up regular coffee dates with your friends. This tip is especially important because it helps you break the habit of checking your phone, while also exposing you to new hobbies that aren’t electronically-oriented.