Looking back on 2020, the year of school shutdowns and religious mask wearing, I remember many not so pleasant things. The one that stands out the most is the feeling of painful migraines that I would get every single day after staring at my eighth grade teacher talk through Zoom on my computer. The constant glare of artificial light from the screen making its way to my eyes and through my brain for six or more hours a day was truly one of the worst parts of the whole year. Unfortunately, once we went back to school in-person, our schools had become ever more digital. The district issuing each kid their very own chromebook changed most teachers’ curriculums to be fully online. So, despite the return to normalcy in most other aspects of my life, I still find myself staring at a screen for six or more hours a day, whether it be doing my homework on a computer or taking a break on my phone. This is not a healthy thing for teeangers and it’s not just our eyes that are suffering.
Ever since the quarantine started and we had nowhere to go or anything to do for two weeks straight, we began filling up our time, watching Tiktoks, scrolling on Twitter, or watching TV. With these distractions on top of the screen time from online school or work, some would spend no more than an hour of their days without a screen! These forms of entertainment and screen time still existed before the era of COVID, however it was truly the lockdown which turned the excessive use of them into one of our worst habits. Additionally, post-COVID, increased screen time has been associated with issues like digital fatigue, disrupted sleep patterns, and heightened stress levels due to prolonged virtual interactions and remote work or learning. Balancing screen time with offline activities is crucial for overall well-being and we have all been struggling with this task more than ever before. Furthermore, the amount of time which is spent in front of a device during COVID has seriously desensitized all of us as to what a normal amount of screen time is. It’s almost as if we are still living in the time of initial quarantine because for some the screen time never went back to normal. Even now, walking between classes I often bump into several people who are so ignorant as to not look up from their screens and see who’s walking in front of them. Clearly, it is our generation who spent their childhoods in quarantine that need to wake up and treat this post-COVID issue of screen time as a serious problem.