‘Cut back on screen time’

Kayla Barry, Assistant Editor in Chief

Editor’s Note: Kayla’s Korner will be a reoccurring column that deals with mental health and teenage issues.


This week, I decided to watch and reflect on a CBS, “60 Minutes,” video I watched. The video was titled “Groundbreaking Study Examines Effects of Screen Time on Kids.” This came out about a month ago on Dec. 9, 2018.

This video discusses multiple studies that were completed on children to see if screen time affects thinking, language skills, and their mental health. To find this, there were brain scans taken, as well as experiments done.

For example, it was shown that kids who spend more than two hours a day on a screen get lower scores on thinking and language tests.

Similarly, with four and a half hours a day on a phone had a big effect on how teens related to each other.

A psychology professor at San Diego State University, Jean Twenge, says, “It should be a tool that you use. Not a tool that uses you.”

If screen time is so bad for us, why don’t we just stop?

According to this video, scientists have came to the conclusion that screen time releases dopamine, which is all about cravings and desires in the brain. Teens want to keep getting that good feeling that comes with the release of dopamine even if they are acting impulsively.

When smartphones began to become popular amongst all people, it has spiked loneliness and depression in teens.

This also tripled the emergency visits for self-harm.  

Although it is uncertain if this has all come from smartphones, many scientists believe it did. And in my opinion, I also believe smartphones and screen time are most likely the culprit.

For me, social media can sometimes make me feel even worse than I already am. I look at pictures of others and see where they are. I would get upset and start to have self-deprecating thoughts, such as “Oh, you are not there because no one likes you” or “Why would you be invited to that, you are not cool.” This does not always happen, but it happens especially when I am in an already upset mood.

For me, I also feel very lonely, because I will talk to people on social media that go to Pascack Valley and not even be able to talk to them in person. It makes me feel awkward.

I am also really into YouTube, especially watching fashion videos as well as makeup tutorials. These can make me sad because there would be a beauty guru that is so pretty and I just want to be like her.

But I also believe that phones have given me the ability to connect to people that are scared to talk to me in person, especially those that have similar situations as mine. It gives me a platform for people to openly talk to me without having to be scared or nervous. I am very grateful for that.

I found a very interesting study that the University of Pennsylvania has done that was talked about in this video. The study had college students limit themselves to 30 minutes a day on a phone or screen. These students reported that they were less lonely and depressed.

I think this shows that phones and social media can add to depression and loneliness.

On my phone, to kind of counteract the things that could make me feel sad, I put wallpapers on my phone that are positive to motivate me. So even if I get sad, I can just look at my background and it will remind me that everything is going to be okay.

Right now, my background states “Good things are coming.”

I like to change it every so often just for aesthetic purposes as well as just in need of a change. I highly recommend this to everyone, just to add a little positivity in your life.

Overall, this video has taught me a lot of things related to screen time and mental health. If you have 15 minutes, I would watch it and really listen to what it is saying.

It has persuaded me to cut back on screen time and really just focus on myself.

Coming next: Kayla’s Korner will be continuing with weekly articles. Next week will be involving how therapy changed my life.