Screen-Free Week Challenge

How many hours do you spend each day on your screen? If you are a parent, do you know how much “screen time” your child receives?

Reports from Nielsen indicate that with an increase in staying at home during COVID, being indoors-during-crisis, overall media consumption has increased 60% to over-13-hours-per-day! That is a lot of strain on eyesight, with extended exposure to high-energy bluelight. Too much exposure can be harmful, especially for children and teens. Disruptions in sleep cycles due to suppressed production of melatonin and eye strain is another consequence from too much screen time.

I personally experienced digital eye strain with the shift from working in-person to exclusively telehealth. My body felt tired, even though I was just sitting. My eyes felt tired, even though I was getting plenty of sleep. I would experience headache at times—all classic symptoms of “Zoom fatigue” which includes feeling tired, eye strain, and headaches or migraines. Other common symptoms include difficulties concentrating, daydreaming, poor sleep patterns, and blurred vision. Staring at screens all day will do this.

If you currently use a screen for work or school, it may not be possible to get rid of your screen for a week. It may be possible; however, to make some modifications to give yourself a break.

Check out these ideas for a Screen-Free Week Challenge:

• Take a break from your screen. Try incorporating more in-person activities if this is safe to do so.

• Instead of being “on” all the time, turn off your video when this is not necessary.

• Replace screen-based entertainment with activities that can be done offline.

• For an awesome list of 101 screen-free ideas, click here

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC 

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