How to Cut Back on Screen Time
By Paul Rothbart
In today's world, much of our time is spent looking at screens. Television has been around for decades, but now we have computers, tablets, and smartphones. These are all very useful devices that help us to work, communicate, and have access to information instantly. They also tempt us with distractions that are not so important. In addition to stealing our time, they can be harmful to our eyes and our sleep. Cutting back on screen time is a worthwhile goal that, for many people, is not easy to attain. But we must not give up. Here are some ways to help spend less time looking at a screen.
Have a Screen-Free Day Once a Week
Set aside a day, probably on a weekend, in which you will not look at a screen for the entire 24 hours. Do it with your significant other, children, or other family members. Instead of looking at screens, do something fun. Play a board game, get outside for a walk or hike. Engaging in a fun hobby, listening to music, or even reading an old-school book in which you turn pages, are all good ways to spend your day away from screens. You may enjoy it so much that you cut back overall screen time without even realizing it.
Start on a Smaller Scale
If an entire day without screens doesn't seem feasible at the present time, try a shorter period -- perhaps no screens after a certain hour or during a designated period of the day. Find something else to do during that time and gradually build to a full day.
Choose a Room to Make Screen-Free
Another way of cutting back that some people find effective is designating a screen-free zone. No looking at screens while in that particular room. It could be the kitchen or dining room, where you spend time eating. Enjoy the meal and the company without the distractions of screens. The bedroom is another good room. You will sleep better.
Plan Screen Time
Instead of flipping from channel to channel while watching television, plan what you want to watch and when you will watch it. Searching aimlessly encourages sitting in front of the television mindlessly. Setting a schedule will get you away from the TV and doing better things when your show is over. You can also do this with your phone. Set a time to look at news or social media. When you are finished, put the phone away until the next designated session.
Modern technology has made a number of screens available to us at any time of day or night. Too much screen time is not good for physical or mental health. Try some of these tips to cut your screen time down and live a better life.
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