Part 2: Keeping Your Screen Time to a Minimum

By Jennifer Drummond, ND

playtimeLast week I wrote about my experience about going almost completely screen-free for 7 days. If you are up for just reducing your screen time, I’ve summarized a few points I’ve personally found to be helpful.

Tips to Keep Screen Time to a Minimum in Your Life:

  1. Consciously and with purpose use your screen. Try to avoid using your screen as a habit of something to just pass the time. If you need to pass the time, look outside, go for a walk, read a book, draw, paint, close your eyes… the list is endless.
  2. Set some boundaries for time. If you just want to watch something for a laugh, set a timer for a specific time. Again, you are adding more of a conscious decision to this.
  3. Set boundaries for your subject. If you need to research something, write down on a sticky note the point of your research and stick it somewhere on your computer. This little reminder may help you avoid the rabbit hole.
  4. Set a time limit with social media. Social media can be a great tool for sharing amazing articles and insights and keeping in touch with loves ones, but it can also be a breeding ground for jealously and low self-esteem. I would get the same feeling from a People magazine. I would only allow myself the time to read it while waiting in the grocery line. Once I reached the front, I put it back. If I ever bought it and read the whole thing, I generally felt worse about myself. I use social media for the bare minimum and then get out of it quickly.
  5. Keep stock of your emotions before you respond/tweet. Words are very powerful. And these words last, well pretty much forever out there. Even if you delete it, somewhere they are still there to be seen.
  6. Try to project into the future 10 years if you’d like this photo to be put on social media. A picture is worth a thousand words. And will last and last and last… Employers and College/University admissions look at these social media profiles in selecting their applicants.
  7. If you are a parent, be mindful of your own screen time. Kids notice everything. They hear and see everything. If you want them to have minimal screen time, then you have to do it yourself as well. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends children under 2 should have no exposure to screens at all as this interferes with brain development (they need face-to-face interaction most of all!). Kids between 2-6 years should only have 1 hour and kids over 6 years should have no more than 2 hours per day.
  8. Have a good discussion about the dangers of social media as well. Bulling, sexting, online predators are all important points to cover.
  9. Have screen-free times set in your daily routine. For example, no screens at the dinner table. No screens at bedtime. On the weekend, if the weeknights are too hectic, have time together to explore the beach, the park, a board game, paint or draw together, read a good book together, etc.
  10. If you have to use a screen at night, use the night shift mode. The light automatically shifts the colours of your display to the warmer end of the colour spectrum rather than the cooler, blue light that the computer regularly emits. This blue light can disrupt hormonal patterns as well as your sleep cycle and melatonin production (which regulates your sleep/awake cycle). If you don’t have this as an option on your screen, then aim to shut down your screens at least one hour before bedtime. There are also glasses you can wear that block blue light.

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