Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture

Screen Time and Brain Rot: You Need A F***ing Hobby

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

In today’s world, our lives revolve around our phones, computers, TVs, iPads, and more. We as a society are addicted to our screens. A few years ago, it became a saying that only teenagers were addicted to their phones, with our family and older people calling us “screenagers.” 

However, the issue has grown exponentially. After the pandemic, almost everyone became addicted to their screens. Adults love Facebook, teens love TikTok and we all know the discourse about ‘iPad’ kids. 

It is exceedingly socially acceptable for people to spend hours on their phones these days, whether for work, school, fun, or just mindless scrolling. When people rack up 10 to 12 hours a day of screen time, no one bats an eye. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that “kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun.” This number does not even include the sheer amount of time kids use screens for school. 

So much time is spent staring and scrolling on social media and television. Whatever happened to creativity? 

According to Harvard Medical School, “The growing human brain is constantly building neural connections while pruning away less-used ones, and digital media use plays an active role in that process, according to [Pediatrician Michael] Rich. Much of what happens on screen provides “impoverished” stimulation of the developing brain compared to reality, he says. Children need a diverse menu of online and offline experiences, including the chance to let their minds wander. ‘Boredom is the space in which creativity and imagination happen,’ [Rich] says.”

In this day and age, people no longer have a means to be bored. The moment there isn’t anything to do, most people automatically pick up their phone; for some, it’s almost like a reflex. Why desire to create, to learn, to try something new when you can just turn off your brain and doom scroll on TikTok for three hours? 

I genuinely believe that screen time, especially social media, has ruined our ability to be curious along with our innate need as humans to create. People need hobbies outside of work and school, hobbies that don’t require pressure or gain. Having these hobbies replaces the need to be on our phones, and in turn enriches our brains. Your phone and your screens are controlling your life, and you don’t even realize it.

There’s a phrase going around the Internet called ‘brain rot.’ While most use the term as a joke or for a funny meme, the word does hold quite a bit of weight to it. According to Newport Institute, “Brain rot is caused by excessive technology use. That might mean binge-watching videos on YouTube, scrolling social media, or switching back and forth between various browser tabs. On top of that, you might be simultaneously surfing the Internet, texting, and checking your email. The end result: You’re overstimulating your brain.” 

There is so much going on in the world besides what is happening on your phone. At the end of the day, who cares what blush your favorite influencer likes best, or about the Reddit stories you listen to while some guy plays subway surfers? You’re wasting your life away watching other people online have fun, instead of doing the things you enjoy.

Ultimately, I’m not asking, I’m not begging, I’m demanding that you get off your phone and actually enjoy your life. Go paint or draw. Listen to music and garden. Try a new recipe or visit a library. Talk to someone (please) and make plans. It’s time to wake up and take control of your life, for no one’s sake except your own.

Anushka Desai is a freshman student at UCF currently majoring in Legal Studies and is a Staff Writer for Her Campus UCF. In her free time she engages in journaling, cooking and drawing. You might catch her indulging in long drives while listening to her favorite guilty pleasure playlists.