Ask Cassandra: Screen Time Surplus

Cassandra Hagen, staff writer

Dear Cassandra, 

I think that my screen usage is becoming a problem. I’m constantly on my phone, doom scrolling through social media, to the point where my average screen time is around 8 hours a day. Do you have any tips to reduce the amount I’m using my phone? Or any hobbies that don’t use a screen that I could take up?


Screen Time Surplus

Dear Screen Time Surplus, 

One of the most common problems a lot of people have is overusing their phone and having high amounts of screen time. It can be especially hard in a new digital age to be able to control your screen time when it seems like everything is online. With a whole world of content to view, it can be easy to fall into a loop of staying on your phone most of the day. But there are a few strategies you can employ in order to reduce your screen time overall, some of which I’ll put below!

Reflect on the content you’re viewing. One of the first things to do when you realize that your screen time is far above what you’d like it to be is to think about what content you are viewing all day. Is the result of your screen time schoolwork, or are you playing video games, scrolling through social media apps or stuck on streaming services mindlessly watching episode after episode? Determining what content you’re consuming allows you to better cut back on it, and employ strategies to combat it. 

Take a break from some of your most used social media apps. It can be easy to fall into the habit of spending hours a day scrolling through your feeds and this can easily turn unhealthy. Taking a step back from social media can look differently depending on what you need, whether that means intentionally staying off an app, taking a short break from the platform, and deactivating your account or deleting it entirely. Stepping back from social media enables you to evaluate the effect these platforms have on you and just how much time you are spending on them. 

Start keeping track of and being mindful about your screen time. By being aware of the problem and making the effort to take note of how much time you spend online, you can take the first steps towards reducing it. Almost all devices have screen time trackers and most phones allow you to set alerts when you’ve gone over the predetermined limits you’ve set.

Find a hobby! You’re completely spot on to think that starting a new hobby can help reduce screen time. This can be anything — from reading, to a creative project such as painting or knitting or even picking up a new sport. Choose something you’ve been wanting to do or an area that you’re interested in to make you look forward to it. When you’re passionate about something, it’s easier to put your time towards it instead of your screen whenever you feel like you might need a break. 

Overall, remember that cutting down on your daily screen time is a process, and it might take a while to find what works for you. However, focusing on cutting back by an hour or two a day is a great place to start. Remember that you’re doing this for you and your wellbeing and health, and keep that goal in mind. You’ve got this!

Here’s to hoping for less time spent on your phone,