We are dedicating our blog post this week to Screen Free Week, which runs April 29-May 5th this year.
In preparation for this week, we’ve been evaluating our relationship with screens and technology – appreciating the ways it supports our lives and noticing the ways that it sometimes impinges upon them. Studies tell us how screen time negatively impacts our health (decreasing curiosity, emotional stability, and self-control, while increasing distractibility, hyperactivity, and anxiety and depression symptoms [1, 2, 3]). But we also feel the difference in our hearts, bodies, and minds when we spend time engaging with screens rather than people, animals, nature, or the world around us.
Maybe you’re in a place similar to us, thinking, “…okay, so I get it. Spending hours on my phone/laptop/console isn’t great for me. But I do love it/need it/crave it. How can I include other non-screen activities in my day to resist the pull and balance my activities?” We’ve got some ideas for you, and we’ve been test-running them ourselves!
The most important part of balancing screen time is to find something that works for you in your unique situation – something that is sustainable, rejuvenating, and enriching! You may try one technique to achieve this, or you may try several. Give yourself time to adjust to new patterns and pay attention to how you feel, think, and act as you try each change. As you journey, we are wishing you moments of connection with others and with yourself!
Kuznekoff, J.H. & Titsworth, S. (2013). The impact of mobile phone usage on student learning. Communication Education, 62(3), 233-252. doi: 10.1080/03634523.2013.767917
Madhav, K.C., Sherchand, S.P., & Sherchan, S. (2017). Association between screen time and depression among US adults. Prev Med Rep, 8, 67–71. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.08.005
Page, A.S., Cooper, A.R., Griew, P., & Jago, R. (2010). Children’s screen viewing is related to psychological difficulties irrespective of physical activity. Pediatrics, 126(5), 1011-1017.