Balancing screen time and virtual learning


Focusing on the screen, a student engages with school activities from the comfort of her home. Learning virtually from home can be challenging when it feels like you are constantly connected, so taking breaks is important for eye and overall health.

Justine Hooker, Section Editor

If you have been shocked by your weekly screen time reports or are even too scared to look, you may not be alone. As the pandemic continues to confine us in our homes, we battle the everyday struggle of too much screen time. Not being able to do normal activities as often has left us with options that may have a screen attached. Whether it is a phone, tablet, computer, or TV, digital usage since the pandemic has no doubt increased for many people, and it is getting even worse as virtual schooling has begun for some counties around the country.  The growing impact of the pandemic has been looming over our minds since the start, but as the summer started to wind down, America started to realize an even bigger problem brewing–how will we go back to school? The answer to this is still an ongoing debate, but for Wake County Public Schools, the first quarter is all online. 

  Some like the idea of school online. You get the opportunity to attend school without leaving the comfort of your home or maybe even the comfort of your pajamas, but what you may not always get is the break from screens. It can feel overwhelming to be constantly connected to a device. For certain students, being in a class online does not have the same effect and requires more planning and organization on their part. For senior Camila Gomez, being “a tactile learner” has presented her with some challenges because she feels “being in a class and asking direct questions” is more suitable to her. Not being in a brick and mortar building has its cons because “the environment plays a huge part in a students work ability.” Virtual learning is new for many teachers and students, and adaption is happening on the spot. 

  Right now, being online for school is important, but taking necessary steps throughout the day to reduce screen time is important. Now, more than ever, it is even more difficult to break away. The blue light from screens can be damaging to eyes and along with sedentary states, may be the cause of headaches, eye strain, fatigue, and stress. Implementing healthier ways to function with increased screen use is something many need to consider.

  To avoid feeling zombie-like all day, consider screen breaks. Work for intervals of time, and then allow yourself a break that can consist of walking, stretching, having a snack, or reading, but the importance of the break is to not look at any screens. While working, consider purchasing a pair of blue light glasses that filter the blue light coming from devices to give your eyes a little more protection. Lastly, during your free time, think about personal activities that you like to do that do not require a screen.

 Finding a balance of screen time, virtual learning, and offline activities will be the key to helping you become more successful this school year. The next time you pause your work, maybe instead of scrolling through Instagram or checking your email for the hundredth time, give your eyes a rest and enjoy a well deserved break.