Should we be concerned with screen time during the pandemic?

A look at how the increase in screen time may affect our in-person interactions in the future.

Just how many hours do you spend on your computer and phone combined? How many hours do you spend watching TV or playing video games? It’s probably a lot more than you think because, believe me, that time adds up quickly. 

If I’m being honest, I think that I spend most of my waking hours looking at a screen (oh, maybe that’s why I get headaches). I’m on my computer for both school and homework, watching TV during meals, and between them I spend my time on my  phone. Even my dance classes are on Zoom nowadays, sheesh! 

I know I’m not the only one who spends too much of their day staring at a screen, but some of it we just can’t help. A whole year has passed since the start of the pandemic and we’re all hungry for in-person interaction. Thankfully, it looks like we will finally receive more of that this year. But will all the screen time during the shutdown affect our face-to-face interactions once we return to them?

Increased screen time has definitely made all of us lazier and more tired, which is why I would encourage you to take more breaks from your devices in your free time. Instead of watching a TV show or playing video games, take a walk, read a book or give your room a quick cleaning. If you give your eyes a rest, you will become more energized and motivated as you return to your online work. 

When we return to  school on campus and other in-person activities, people could act in one of two ways. They will either be super-outgoing and talk to everyone they meet, or be reserved and hesitant to speak. It will be weird the day we finally get to meet all of the people we only saw on a screen for so long. 

Will you push past the awkwardness of the moment and speak to others or be overcome with discomfort and keep to yourself? A little bit of both is probably more realistic. Although screen time has increased in the past year, it shouldn’t be super detrimental to our social skills in the long run. People will be so happy to see each other that it won’t be hard to overcome the first few moments of discomfort. Humans by nature crave interaction, so we’ll most likely be just fine. 

Do yourself a favor and take a break from screens when you have a chance, but don’t worry about it affecting your interactions with others. Your social skills may be rusty, but they will get a boost when we get to see each other again. 

Author: Katarina Quintana | Opinions Editor

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