Technology has become an essential part of not only everyday life but also in education. Many schools offer devices like iPads and laptops, and it would be impossible to get through college without a computer. While online resources are required for most classes, some classes are entirely based online. If we add the amount of time we use screens for education on top of our regular screen usage, the amount may surprise you.
When I hear, “screen time,” I typically think of entertainment. I use devices like my phone, TV, and iPad for entertainment, while I use my laptop mostly for schoolwork. Personally, I feel like my screen time is pretty average for someone of my demographics. I definitely know people who spend more time with their screens and some who spend less time with their screens than I do.
When I think of how much time I’m on my computer, I take class time into consideration, since I often follow along with class PowerPoints and take notes as we go along. Because of that, I probably spend two hours a day on my computer just in class. Then, depending on the amount of homework I have, I’ll probably spend anywhere from 1-5 hours using my computer on homework. This averages out to about anywhere from 3-8 hours a day depending on the amount of homework I’m assigned.
Tracking my television usage is a tricky one. As a busy student, I really don’t have a lot of time to watch TV. But I do like to have it on in my room when I’m doing other tasks, like cleaning and doing laundry, as background noise. And… I’ll admit… as bad as it’s said to be, I like to sleep with my TV on.
I like having the TV on when I sleep because it gives me something to listen to and think about when winding down for the night. If you count how much time I spend actually paying attention to the TV, I’d estimate no more than 30 minutes per day, typically. If you count the time where I’m sleeping, that might average out to anywhere between 4-8 hours per night, given the amount of homework I have that night or what I have to get up for the next morning.
Conveniently, my phone has a tracking system in its software that actually tracks my screen time usage! My phone reports that my daily average usage amounts to about 3 hours and 57 minutes, which is down 20% from last week’s calculations. Even though I use apps like Snapchat and Messages most often, apps that I need to be open for extended amounts of time, like Google Maps and YouTube, report the highest time used.
The amount of time that I spend on my phone seems significantly lower than the amount of time than I spend on my computer. But, realistically, I know that I use it more. This may be because I am able to complete smaller tasks more efficiently on my phone than on my laptop. Often when I’m using my computer, it sits and I use it for constant reference two or three times per day, whereas my phone has tracked an average pickup rate of 125 times per day.
Adding up my screen time altogether adds up to about eight hours a day without counting my TV running while I sleep. To me, this sounds like a lot, but when you consider the balance between school and my additional personal time my screens, I feel like this is reasonable for a person of my age and demographics in 2020.
According to a 2019 article on medlineplus.gov, too much screen time can, “Make it hard for your child to sleep at night. Raise your child’s risk for attention problems, anxiety, and depression.”
My mental state feels quite stable currently, so I think that my screen time is at a healthy level. Instead of staying up late, I’ve been trying to get as much sleep as possible.
I think that each user’s screen time is dependent on their job, school, and personal use.
Reflecting on my screen time has been an eye-opening experience for me, whether I can make changes or not due to being a college student. I challenge you all to track your own phone usage to see how we compare!