Let’s be honest: computers,televisions, tablets, gaming devices, and cellphones are really cool. Just a few years ago, these devices couldn’t do half the things they do now.
These days there is a ton of information at our fingertips.
There are thousands of hours of cat videos on Youtube.
We can connect with friends and family on the other side of the world during a global pandemic.
We can work from home.
We can binge watch hours of our favorite shows.
In order to achieve all these things, however, we spend hundreds of hours looking at screens.
Research has shown that college students spend approximately 8-10 hours a day using their cellphones, which includes looking at screens.
That’s the same amount of hours recommended for a healthy night’s sleep.
That number doesn’t account for the amount of time also spent looking at computer screens or televisions.
Unfortunately, the increased amount of time we spend in front of screens has reduced the amount of time we spend engaging in physical activity and connecting with each other in person.
Excessive amounts of screen time can lead to:
reduced physical activity
irregular sleep patterns
repetitive-use injuries, such as carpal tunnel
neck, shoulder, and back pain
In the time of COVID-19, using technology and devices with screens has become the primary way that many of us can remain connected with others.
With many people working from home and students, including UMBC students, taking classes online, it's hard to not find ourselves in front of a screen for multiple hours a day.
However, we can reduce the impact of increased screen time by
setting a daily screen time limit;
making meals, including those with family, technology-free;
avoiding screen devices at least one hour before bed;
standing and stretching at least once an hour while working;
being mindful of your posture while sitting;
finding an activity that doesn’t include a screen, like reading a book or completing a puzzle;
connecting with family and friends without the use of technology, such as writing and mailing a letter; and
getting outside and taking a walk (please practice safe physical distancing).
If you feel like your screen time and/or use of social media is negatively impacting your quality of life or your relationships, please call the Counseling Center at 410-455-2472 for help.