A growing topic of concern is the over use of T.Vs, computers, tablets, phones and all things screens and how much time is being spent focused on the entertainment, function and learning they provide; especially among youth. How many times have you forgotten your wallet, keys or as I have heard a personal friend do, their insulin? Or for youth their homework, hat, permission form or a piece of sports equipment but we always seem to remember our cell phones, iPads and other devices. With the constant increase in time looking at screens in school, work and personal life there has become a dependence and over attachment to our tech. Below are 5 questions to ask yourself if you think you are out of balance between screen time and physical/social activity time. To help you get back to an even balance there are 5 activities that can help you break the spell of constant screen time. Feel free to add to the list!
1) Do you know how much screen time you have per day? Per week? How much is for work/school and how much is personal time?
2) Do you feel uncomfortable if your tech or social media device is not with you?
3) Do you take you screen devices to bed with you?
4) During your face to face social interactions do you think about what you are missing on social media or what game you could be playing?
5) Do you remember the last full day you had with no screen time? How about the last two?
5 tips for finding a balance
1) Go for a short walk and leave your phone at home. Take in the surroundings without the distraction or temptation.
2) Read, talk or hangout to end the night. Put the screens away 2 hours before bed. It will help you sleep and rest your eyes.
3) Exercise! Run, lift weights, yoga, stretch, swim and any sport. Break a sweat in an activity that requires focus and is specific. Break a sweat what good for the body is good for the mind.
4) Try a new physical/social activity out of the house without your device. Learning something through experience will make you focus on the task at hand and keep you off your devices. It can also lead to more engagement with other people face to face rather than through social media.
5) Board games night. One day a week have a family or friends board game night with no screens. Find out how the people around you are without distractions. You’ll be amazed how much more you’ll listen.