For many, our phones have been a source of dependency during the pandemic; a place of solace and comfort. It is easy to spend hours scrolling through your timeline to escape dull and sombre reality.
Studies suggest screen time has increased by 23 minutes daily on average since the pandemic. There is little consensus surrounding what the optimum screen time is. Avoiding screen time entirely is unrealistic; work and university commitments, especially nowadays, are tied to our phones and laptops.
However, reducing and limiting screen time can be very beneficial. It is known to reduce the risk of health problems, bodily aches and eye strain. It can improve sleep quality and increase your focus.
Most phones have an interesting feature where you can view, control and therefore limit the amount of time you spend per day engrossed by the contents of your phone.
This week, I played around with the settings on there to see if I could reduce my daily screen time average. I restricted my social media app limits to 3 hours every day; applied 8 hours of downtime so that I could sleep on time and not be distracted by my phone.
Limiting my screen time had the biggest impact on my sleep. Staying away from my phone screen past a certain time allowed me to unwind and therefore, sleep at a much earlier and regulated time than I otherwise would have.
Since the aim was to limit screen time, in my down time I had to occupy my time with something that wasn’t screen related. It motivated me to do some journaling, drawing, cleaning, cooking.
Although it is difficult to measure impacts on health within just one week, I did find that mentally, I felt calmer and relaxed. There was little pressure and influence from being online and using it as a form of escapism.
Overall, I would recommend trying this as a way of detoxing or taking a break from your phone, particularly during exam periods and reading weeks.