Hang up and hang out


Photo Illustration by Hailey Dirks

Reflecting back on how many nights I’ve stayed watching TV or wasting time, I realize how productive I could have been. Because of my late-night escapades, I often find myself feeling tired and impotent. However, I can’t help but be distracted by the pop-ups and temptations that come up on my laptop as I do homework, whether it be jamming out to music, or watching YouTube. 

 In fact, according to a study done by Iowa State University, people spend on average 40 hours in front of a screen per week. The pressures of school and other responsibilities are usually the reason for our undoing as we scroll through our phones for a “10 minute” mental break, only to realize it has been an hour. Although we think of this as a rest, we’re really just accumulating more stress to deal with. 

Spending too much time online can lead to fewer hours of sleep, mental and physical health issues and even social comparisons. However, there are ways to avoid stress:


  1. Spending a lot of time in front of a screen can lead to not having healthy habits. Sleeping and eating well can really play into how your body and mind cope with what you deal with every day. Instead of spending those 30 free minutes finishing an episode, go for a run to get some fresh air while getting a good workout.  Doing this gives your brain some time to relax and take in everything you’ve done, instead of trying to help you memorize that new TikTok dance. 
  2.  Putting time restrictions on certain apps can help you monitor and control the hours you spend using them. Turn off your phone while you’re eating or even when you’re talking to your friends. Pushing one button can make a difference.
  3.  You can accomplish so much in the hours you are glued to your screen. Set up some projects for yourself around your house, such as organizing the pantry or even cleaning out the crumpled papers at the bottom of your school backpack. Start with doing something small every evening. 

Avoiding technology altogether may not be a possible solution since homework and other assignments are usually online. Instead, take out some time for yourself and try to complete all online activity as quickly as you can. The less time you spend online, the less stress you pile-up to deal with later. Use technology to your advantage instead of letting it take advantage of you.