When Screen Time Takes Over

Emma Davis, Reporter

This year, students at NRMS attend classes 3-5 days a week via their iPad and Google Meet. This schedule means that students are spending at least 18 additional hours each week on a device, and for some that time may be closer to 30 hours. Additionally, students may spend more time on devices completing homework, socializing, or playing video games. The question concerning students, teachers, and parents is: how will all that extra screen time affect young people? 

In conversations with some middle school students asking about how they regularly use social media, or just technology in general,  many say anecdotally that they’re on their phones “all the time” or “24/7,” and Lula Punch, ’26 said “being on screens for too long hurts my eyes, and I bought blue light glasses.”  Some even stated that they’re on their phones “80 percent of the time on google meets for school,  and it can be distracting.” Delaney MacDonald, ’25, says she “spends about eight hours on a screen each day.” Ryland Valtz, ‘26, says he “usually spends six hours a day on his phone, but eight hours a day when he has online classes.” Gabi Csongor, ‘25, says that “being on a screen for too long makes my head hurt a lot.” So how can we balance all this screen time, limit it when we can, or try to live a normal life?

Sarah Daley, NRMS school psychologist, says that “being on our screens is a new normal,” and that “wellness is about balance.” When I asked her about what we could do to balance our time, and to prevent a negative impact from screen time, she replied, “I’d recommend making a morning and night routine that includes putting your phone somewhere away from your bed, drinking water, and practicing meditation (even if it is only 5 minutes sitting comfortably, taking deep, slow breaths). The more often we pause to notice how we’re feeling, the better we are at responding to other people with kindness.” She also shared with me that it is important to have family discussions about the media; maybe have a family dinner about how to safely use media, or spend time all together without devices. 

It is hard to not be on our screens all the time, and to get into a routine, but there’s other things you can do instead of being on electronics. Dominic Murthy, ‘26, says that he likes to go on bike rides on the bike path or  go skateboarding. He also said that going on nature walks is fun, especially if you have a pet you can take along. There are also so many other things you can do with your families not involving technology. Even though screens may be the new normal, and we don’t yet know all the side effects, we should try to limit how much time we spend on our screens for our well being.