Lately many places in the world have been shut down due to the coronavirus, and while it is great that technology can still connect us with the outside world, could it be possible we are spending too much time looking at a screen?
I believe that students are in fact on screens too much, and with the uptick in Zoom usage across the country, this problem is getting worse. Palatine High School has been remote for most of the year. This means students have been staring at a screen for an even longer time than they normally would.
An NBC News report showed that teenagers are spending almost 7.5 hours a day on screens. This report doesn’t even factor in time using a screen for school. Think about how many more hours students spend on the screen now because of classes and homework being learned completely through technology.
For me, when I was going to school in person, I knew that it was a break from technology. While we did use our iPads, most teachers gave students the option of having paper copies of worksheets and homework. School should be about learning and socializing. Learning online makes it even easier for students to lose focus and look at their phones or play video games.
Adults also have trouble with managing their screen time. Scripps.org had a study showing adults spend on average 11 hours a day staring at computers, phones, TV or other devices.
“I feel young adults and adults are using too much technology because of the steady decline in the ability to have basic conversations with adults outside their home,” PHS counselor Timothy O’Connell said. “I, too, am guilty of this. For example, I check my phone too much while my kids are participating in a soccer match.”
The negative effects of too much screen time include obesity, sleep disturbances, cyber bullying or even eye strain.
I believe the solution to this problem is very complicated. Getting rid of technology would be a mistake, because it provides us with entertainment and makes life easier in many ways. There needs to be a balance between screen time and no screen time. The government should not impose any restrictions on this because people do deserve the right to live how they want to. But schools and local communities should provide information to people about the dangers of too much technology so they can make an educated decision for themselves and their loved ones.
A more immediate solution could be to open parts of the country back up. Parks and outdoor facilities need to be open in order for people to spend less time on screens and more time being active. Schools need to reopen and give students the opportunity to escape their technology and learn in person to be more focused. Obviously, if anyone feels uncomfortable with this, they can have the choice to stay home for as long as they want.
The scariest part about this is that science does not know long term effects of too much screen time. Scientists know that smoking cigarettes damages the lungs over time. They know marijuana can cause people to hallucinate. Technology probably won’t have as severe of consequences, but it has become an addiction worth addressing.