INEVITABLE SIDE EFFECT

According to a 2019 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children aged 8-12 spent an average of 4.5 hours a day on screens, while teens aged 13-18 spent 6.5 hours a day. 

The pandemic – and its resulting closures of schools, sports and most extracurricular activities – has only heightened our reliance on digital tools, leading many parents to ask: How much screen time is too much? 

As a result of the closure of most outside establishments, the continuous lockdown, and the fear of contracting the virus among a good number of people, many remained locked inside their homes with little or nothing to do. Majority of these people were students and children between the stages of early childhood to late teenagers. 

Usually people in these age groups are occupied by school, extra curricular activities/programs, after school jobs, sports, school assignment/projects, etc. but almost all of those shut down and the was reluctance among most parents/guardians to allow their wards/children to participate in them for fear of contracting the virus through them. This left a large number of people with almost absolutely nothing to occupy their endless time and the limits of being only at home were not helpful either.  A major result of this was boredom, which resulted in a great increase in total screen time, from adults to toddlers.This screen time mostly consisted of (XXX) 

In the USA today, cell phones were present in 84% of households, computers in about 89% of households, between 95% and 97% of American households with television sets and about 85.7million people.

There were many school districts across the different parts of the  country which participated in remote/hybrid learning during the pandemic. Worcester, Boston, Springfield were among the different districts in Massachusetts to participate in remote/hybrid learning during the pandemic. (Last nName of Author)

 

With the continuous rise of new variants and the continuous increase in the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19, many school districts were reluctant to open fully in person. Many parents and students were also reluctant to go in person as well. This led to the provision of digital tools like  chromebooks to many different families for the purpose of attending school online.  Software developers at Google Meet, Zoom, RingCentral Meeting, also updated their respective softwares and equipped them to support uses such as  classes, group meetings, video calls & conferences, presentation, virtual tours,etc. 

Attending school, work meetings, video calls & conferences,virtual tours,etc. Together with the already accelerating amount of screen time, using screens for all these reasons skyrocketed the total screen time among both minors and adults.

The average screen time for teens in the USA last year was 5-9hrs on phone, tv, or other screens. Adults spend about 6-9hrs on total screens per day, about 4-6 on computer/work screens and about 3hrs 45mins on their mobile devices. This does not even include leisure gaming screen time,etc. 

For example, the average teen spends about 5-9hrs on phone, with school being online an extra 4-6hrs were added everyday by 1-3pm. Many of these children spent even more time completing assignments and doing research for their classes. There were many instances where students were distracted from their class meetings and played video games, watched movies/shows or surfed social media.

There are many effects of excessive screen time on different age groups, early data from a landmark National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that began in 2018 shows that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities had lower scores  on language and thinking tests, and some children who spent more than seven hours per day of screen time experienced thinning of the brain’s cortex which is the area of the brain related to critical thinking and reasoning. According to Dr. Jennifer F. Cross, the meaning of these observations is still not clear cut, but hypotheses could be made that too much screen time can affect aspects of children’s development by narrowing their focus of interest  and limiting other learning and exploration areas.

 As humans, our circadian rhythms and our production of melatonin( the sleep hormone ) get started when the sun sets. But the blue light from screens inhibits melatonin, because our bodies are still alert while using them, and  can delay sleep. Screens closer to our faces(like phones) have more of an effect on melatonin production than farther-away screens like (TVS ).