How students manage their screen time during quarantine

Alexandra Jernell

More stories from Alexandra Jernell


Photo courtesy of Jakob Sandberg

Online school has resulted in record amounts of screen time for WJ students. Some worry that it may not be healthy.

A teenage girl receives a notification that her “screen time” report for the week is ready to be viewed. She clicks on it and is shocked to find that she spends an average of six hours a day on her phone. Across the street, a teenage boy receives the same notification and learns that he spends roughly five hours a day on his phone. So what exactly do students do on their phones that is causing their screen time to be so high?

With over 2.2 million apps on the app store, there is no limit to what students are able to do on their phones. Especially now in this time of social distancing, students have found their phones to be an escape from everything going on in the world. However, with this, their screen time has increased greatly.

“The time I spend watching television, doing homework on my laptop and communicating through social media on my phone can average to about six hours a day. My worst habit in regards to my phone would probably be scrolling through Tik Tok and losing track of time,” sophomore Katie Campbell said.

Students are also beginning to find that their phones have become more tempting due to virtual schooling. Although students are expected to turn their cameras on and be present both physically and mentally during Zoom classes, not all teachers enforce it.

“My phone can definitely be a distraction sometimes. It is difficult to finish homework or pay attention in class with my phone buzzing beside me. I try my best not to lose focus in classes or get distracted by my phone, but I can’t say that this hasn’t happened to me a couple times,” Campbell said.

In addition to that, seniors who have never struggled with phone use throughout their high school careers are also finding it more challenging to break away from their phones to do important tasks or to pay attention in class. Especially since they are already experiencing some form of senioritis.

“I’ve usually been pretty good about putting my phone away to do homework but it’s definitely harder now, especially in class,” senior Alina Kahn said.

Another thing that has dramatically changed for students due to online schooling is friendships. Since students are unable to see each other during the school day, they turn to their phones as a way of keeping in contact.“The lack of social interaction we have now with online school is hard to deal with. Texting with our friends during the day is sometimes the only social interaction some people get since we aren’t in person,” junior Jakob Sandberg said.

That being said, with all this time spent on screens during the day, it is more important than ever to take breaks away from the screen. Students may turn to spending time with their families while others like senior Alina Kahn choose to go on walks.

“I try to take a break from screens by attending soccer practices/games and doing other hobbies such as playing piano,” Campbell said.

So is all this time spent in front of a screen healthy for students? While a handful of students may not see a problem with it, a majority do.

“I don’t think it’s healthy for students to be on their phones as much as we are, but it also isn’t healthy to sit on Zoom for five hours a day or sit in the same room for hours after doing homework on the computer. Students lack exercise and social interaction and the increase in work on the computer is not healthy for students,” Sandberg said.