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Limiting Screen Time

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By Madeline Albertine

I recently – and not by choice – spent some time without a phone. My phone was stolen, and due to traveling, work schedules, and other obligations, it took about three days for me to replace my phone. THE HORROR! 

Prior to losing my phone, it was easy to forget how reliant I’ve become on constantly checking it. This reliance became glaringly obvious to me within minutes of not having a phone. It was a weird sensation; I found myself constantly reaching for a phone that wasn’t there, if for no other reason than to check the time. Don’t get me wrong – some of it was refreshing. I took a much-needed break from social media and had a wakeup call on just how much of my day I spend staring at my phone. There are so many wonderful uses of a phone, but there are also negative impacts to being so dependent on these devices. Here are some personal positives that I noticed about not having a phone:

  • I finished work faster. Without a phone to distract me with incoming calls and texts, as well as “quick” social media breaks, I powered through longer work responsibilities in a shorter amount of time. 
  • I was more present. I spent my evenings having in-person conversations with friends and roommates whereas before I would eat a meal while scrolling through apps on my phone. 
  • I put my executive functioning skills to the test Without a phone, I realized rather late in the evening that I had no alarm to ensure that I woke up on time for work. I problem-solved this issue by setting the oven time for eight hours. This countdown occurred all through the night and woke me up right on time in the morning!

Learning to self-regulate screen time is a constant endeavor. I know that many parents struggle daily with their children to get them to put the phone, tablet, etc. down in order to complete homework or simply spend time in conversation, play outside, read, and more. As a Speech-Language Pathologist who works on improving executive functioning skills with students each week, I found it eye-opening to see how I, too, can improve with balancing screen time and responsibilities. 

My phone alerts me weekly as to how much time I have spent on it. Going forward, I strive to cut two hours off this time each week by setting personal limits to the number of times that I check social media or sit on my phone each morning/night. Let’s do it together! 

Erica MechlinskiLimiting Screen Time

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