Too much screen time can have a negative impact on teens and tweens. According to a study from State Farm Insurance, 4 hours of daily screen time is linked to a full grade level drop in average GPA. Blue light emitted from electronic screens causes sleep deprivation (which makes us all feel sleepy the next day).
Types of screen time activities
- Watching T.V.
- Browsing on a computer
- Using smartphones and tablets
- Playing video games
Activities which might strengthen your skills (and help you focus)
- Reading a real book
- Playing sports
- Setting goals/tasks in a journal at the beginning of the day
- Putting your phone down for at least an hour
Why do colleges care?
Colleges want to ensure that students are productive with their time. Having negative screen time habits can reflect poorly on your productivity if a college reviews your digital footprint.
Negative screen time activities
- Complaining/venting online
- Posting content with the intention of deleting it later
- Taking screenshots and sharing private content from others
- Posting questionable photos
- Creating fake accounts of other people
What could go wrong?
According to an interview in TIME with a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, “today’s super-connected teens may be less happy and less prepared for adulthood than past generations”.
The professor shows that, after 2010, teens who spent more time online were more likely to report mental health issues than those who spent time on non-screen activities.
How to develop positive screen time habits
- Remind yourself that having a cell phone, tablet, or computer is something to use in moderation
- Find offline activities that you would be proud to share on your college resume. Spending time on those activities will give you positive content you can post online
- Prioritize positive offline hobbies, school, social activities, sports, and family time above screen time
- Get in the habit of following your screen time guidelines and self-regulating your screen time
- Find activities you can do digitally while still being productive, like:
- Learning how to program
- Building an online resume
- Monitoring your digital footprint
- Have an open and ongoing discussion with your parents about screen time and new apps you’re using
- If you experience anything uncomfortable during screen time, tell a trusted adult right away
- Find an offline hobby that colleges will find interesting, such as:
- Building model airplanes
- Playing music