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The screen-time epidemic

How to manage your time to minimize screens
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ROSALIND LIANG/THE VARSITY
ROSALIND LIANG/THE VARSITY

COVID-19 has led us directly into a screen time spiral. University has become like one long and boring YouTube playlist. These long hours on laptops, tablets, and phones add up and have real medical consequences.

Headaches are very common along with eye strains and poor posture. So, it is important to minimize your total screen time, and this article will tell you precisely how to do so. 

Take breaks

Even before reducing screen time, remember to take frequent breaks while studying. Continued strain on the eyes from focused studying can lead to the need for eyeglasses and, in severe cases, can cause headaches. I would recommend a spaced study technique called Pomodoro, in which you study for 15–25 minutes, take a break for five or 10 minutes, and then repeat the process. It is usually advised to alter the study and break durations according to personal preference.

I prefer to study for 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute break as it feels more continuous. 

Waste no screen time 

Secondly, in my opinion, there are times when a screen is used even if it is not needed. For example, if someone is reviewing their paper notes, they do not need to have their laptop open. Moreover, procrastination is a major contributor to screen time, whether through watching that one YouTube video or taking a break to play Valorant. 

It is important to be conscious of how much time you are wasting on your laptop or phone and try to actively reduce it. 

Revisit off-screen activities

Lastly, I guarantee if you added up your screen time on all your devices, it would add up to over 16 hours a day. That’s basically every waking minute of your life. Before we become zombies, there is one last method we can use. Some screen time is absolutely necessary, like lectures, practicals, and meetings. However, the four hours you may spend on Instagram or Tiktok are not essential and should be cut down. Try to go on your phone only during your breaks and spend more time doing things you love, like reading or working out. 

So while you’re staying home, make sure to take care of yourself by reducing your screen time, using spaced studying, avoiding procrastination, and only using your devices when necessary.