Dr. Jaymie Albin on Navigating Family Screen Time.

Screen time. Technology has certainly been a lifesaver during the coronavirus pandemic. Between distance learning, working from home, and trying to preserve contact with family and friends, our reliance on screens has grown exponentially. But as a psychologist and licensed therapist, I can tell you I am seeing more and more people suffering from the […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.
Screen time.

Technology has certainly been a lifesaver during the coronavirus pandemic. Between distance learning, working from home, and trying to preserve contact with family and friends, our reliance on screens has grown exponentially. But as a psychologist and licensed therapist, I can tell you I am seeing more and more people suffering from the perils of extended remote life. Screen fatigue, and the lack of face-to-face interaction, are taking a toll.

Here are a few tips on how to achieve digital health and screen sanity for yourself and your family.

1. Talk it Out

This may seem counterintuitive, but my first suggestion actually involves using a screen. Schedule a family movie night and watch a documentary (i.e. “Social Dilemma,” “Screenagers,” “LIKE,” etc.) about screen time and social media platforms. Use the film’s themes to bring up issues as they relate to your family and gauge family members’ use of screens. With so much time spent together, utilize family meals and other opportunities to discuss the issue.

Take Control.

2. Be a Conscious Screener

As parents, we want to show our children that a smartphone (or tablet, or any device really) is only a tool for building and maintaining a healthy personal and social life. Most of us use devices interchangeably, but in reality we don’t need all the apps on our phones, tablets, and computers. Review all the apps you and your family are using and determine which devices you need them on and where they can be eliminated. Similarly, some apps induce stress or negativity. Nobody needs that right now, so delete any and all platforms and profiles that are not contributing to your mental health right now. The easiest way to achieve digital wellness is by avoiding device multi-tasking. Particularly when we everyone is trying to work and/or learn from home, navigating between so many screens and apps is not helpful. By consciously turning off notifications and sounds on the non-essential applications (at least at certain times of day), we can heighten our focus and reduce distractions.

A Tool for for building and maintaining a healthy personal and social life.

3. There’s a Time and a Place

When it comes to screen use, there is definite wisdom in the adage “there is a time and a place for everything.” Make mealtimes a screen-free experience. Set up charging stations in public spaces so that phones and devices don’t need to be stored in bedrooms during sleep time.

4. Make it a Family Thing

Some families may opt for an hour of “no-power” each day, when they do something together that does not require a digital device of any kind. Other families may choose to make digital consumption a kind of competition: see who can go the longest without turning on a screen, or make the first person who turns on their device after “power down” time prepare dinner for everyone. The most important part of this step is that you are involving EVERY member of your household in the preparation of the family media plan. This plan should account for everyone’s digital needs and also make time for safe offline socialization. 

Do something together that does not require a digital device of any kind.

We are living through one of the most stressful and chaotic periods in history. It is not the time to radically change behavior or make sweeping lifestyle adjustments. Now, more than ever, we should be embracing and utilizing all the technology that is designed to make our life easier. But we must do so wisely and safely so that we can maintain our mental and physical health for ourselves and our families.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Courtesy of ARIMAG / Shutterstock
    Unplug & Recharge//

    8 Creative Ways to Manage Your Kids’ Screen Time

    by Marina Khidekel
    Community//

    Screen Time for Kids- What every parent should know

    by Swiddle D'Cunha
    Community//

    How to Keep Your Kid’s Screen Time (and your sanity!) from Spiraling Out of Control

    by Katherine Sellery
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.