Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

A Basement of Stories
February 23, 2024

Plan not Scan

   Whether it’s by watching endless videos of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour on TikTok, scrolling through Instagram, or saying you’ll watch just one more video (but all of a sudden it’s been hours), we’ve all spent too much time on our phones before. Excess screen time is often unintentional, but it adds up, and can have more of an effect on overall health than people might think. 

     According to a study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine, youth with the most screen time were more likely to exhibit higher levels of issues like depression, anxiety, social anxiety, physical complaints, and other concerns.

     Young people are especially vulnerable to too much screen time. According to MHS health teacher Jenny Florio, this is because the prefrontal cortex is not fully formed yet, and because of this teens tend to act on impulse more often. Also, teenagers’ brains are different from adults and when watching a screen, processing it as if it is really happening.

     Spending less time on devices can help reduce these mental and physical effects, but it is impossible to eliminate screens altogether. Florio adds that it is challenging because MHS students “are on iPads a lot for school, so [screen time] is not just for entertainment but for academics as well.” However, there are many ways that you can reduce time spent on devices. 

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     Making time for physical hobbies like playing an instrument and making art can help to reprioritize your free time. Also, the CDC recommends 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and Florio encourages students to consider “what can you do to make sure you get those minutes?” She adds that it does not have to be an intense activity, and that simple things like taking a walk or playing frisbee are beneficial too.

     Another idea is to take advantage of app limits. By checking your Screen Time, you can see how much time you spend on each app, and what you might want to change. Setting app limits for apps you overuse can help prevent scrolling for no reason and make you more conscious of how much you’re using each app. 

     Additionally, Florio suggests to “plan not scan – instead of mindlessly scrolling, think of what you’re looking for.” We tend to passively consume lots of content, but try to be intentional with what you are looking at and listening to. 

     Think about what you are looking for before you open an app, and unfollow people whose content doesn’t make you feel good. You can also try reframing the way you consume content: listen to a podcast instead of watching a video, or put your phone away after choosing a playlist to listen to while doing something else. 

     Florio says to remember that “screen time is here to stay, so be mindful of how much time that you are spending on it,” and that “excessive screen time can become a problem, so it is important to prevent that.” Regardless of whatever techniques you choose to try, it is important to take regular breaks from screens to be active and be present.

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