The positives and perils of screen time

I don’t know about you but I’m spending even more time in front of a screen these days than I was before, which was more than I wanted to begin with! Still, it feels important and necessary during this time where we can feel stuck at home, lonely and isolated.

It’s truly amazing that we are able to have these kinds of face to face interactions that we wouldn’t have been able to have 20 years ago. There is something about our screens too, I’ve noticed — not being in an actual room with a person but rather a virtual one –that can feel more inviting to share ourselves in a workshop or intimate setting. That buffer of “alone, together” may allow us to be a bit more vulnerable and revealing of ourselves, and allow us to share our fears, our worries, our secrets– in essence, ourselves.

 

Multitasking

Unfortunately, screen time with others can also allow us to bop on over to check our email, read the news, check social media, and before you know it you’re purchasing items you don’t need. I know many folks who are working from home right now and by the time the weekend comes they refuse to Zoom or FaceTime anyone. They are on Zoom meetings all day and, understandably, they want to remove themselves from technology.

 

Screen time self care

It’s important to remember to exercise self-care when spending time in front of the screen. Here are some suggestions on how to do this:

  • Try to limit your time on the internet and choose what you read carefully so that information overload does not consume you. Constantly checking the news or researching Coronavirus symptoms online can lead to anxiety.
  • If the constant pinging of emails or push notifications is a distraction, try turning off your your notifications, especially if your are trying to focus or need quiet time to work without distraction
  • Get a better night’s sleep by turning your phone settings to “do not disturb” and/or use the “night mode” to reduce the amount of blue light emanating from your screen.
  • Draw boundaries for social media use, and make some time for real life. Be present and enjoy the moment.

If possible, try to spend as much (or less) time in front of a screen as you did in your “normal” life. Awareness around this can remind you to engage in creative pursuits or to simply get outside. Screen time is a useful tool to engage with others through these difficult times but abusing it can lead to the opposite desired effect. Connect with people, not websites. And when all else fails, there’s always that old-fashioned device, the telephone!

 

 

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