Recently I have been online a lot. And I mean like 12 hours a day, a lot. I need to get offline, but I can’t. All of my classes at school require me to have a computer or phone out on my desk writing and doing assignments for eight hours (this why I am able to be on the HTC website often, because I am always doing something on my computer). Then when I get home, I have four or more hours of online homework to do. I am getting overwhelmed by the amount of screen time I am using, and I really need help figuring out how to get away from my computer without putting my education in jeopardy (slightly dramatic but also sad and true). It is giving me anxiety (but not in the clinical sense, just in a general sense). I’ve gone so far as to delete web browsers off my phone and block websites on my computer. Any advice or help is much welcomed.
You need to make an appointment with your principal and confide… just let them know how you feel and don’t leave any details out. If you private message me with your school name etc… I swear I will write a letter myself as an advocate for kids in general. I’m so tired of schools jonesing after technology based education without looking at the consequences.
I’m so sorry to hear about this trap- you take care of yourself at all costs- write an essay about how many hours you spend per day… hour by hour write a journal what your school required you to do to keep up.
You can tell them you don’t know what the answer is, but this situation is not sustainable.
Are you “using” or “abusing” is my first question.
Can you get someone to be your accountability partner by setting up parental controls?
(hugs out to you)
I hope somebody in your own area or country could give you some thoughful and approriate advice. Anyway @healthyswimmer and @chris_davies_sanjose those were thoughtful advices. Just some thoughts about the computer or phone screen. My experience was that the longer you were glued on the screen device. There was weird feeling that some kind of mood changes would happened. I don’t know if this was caused by the design of the screen or apps you were looking or both. We know that some apps/social media are really detrimental to our mental health the longer you were using it. I don’t know much about effect of the design of the screen on moods. Just wondering if there is.
This thing of mandatory screen use in the US schools shocks me every time I hear it. For you it became a privilege affordable only by the richest families to get an education featuring a pen and paper toolkit and a face-to-face interaction with a teacher, who actually teaches you. I absorbed a lot during my high school 5 years period from very talented amazing teachers, not only about their subjects but about values, social interactions, authority and respect gained by merit and competency, and so on. And I remember drawing a lot on my diary, writing long essays, doing math exercises on my notebook, writing a lot of resumes, really a lot. All these activities are crucial and must be done with pen and paper, using your hands, feeling the satisfaction of putting something visible and lasting on paper. The screen will only increase your repression and craving for acting on real external objects and means, like paper, voice, face, blackboards, notebook, …
@siddhi just a simple tip make sure you have enough sleep daily.
Siddhi, is this also a case where you are the only one that feels the amount of forced screen time is too much? If not, you can form a local action group with some fellow students.
You can make your own group the ‘official’ Humanetech Tech-Wise group (maybe even receive resources from your school). This is an excellent opportunity to set up a HTC Campaign for it. We have the Tech Wise campaign theme for this:
There are a lot of Deliverables you can brainstorm for the campaign:
- A Leaderboard (printed posters) ranking teachers from most ‘real’ (face-to-face, less screentime) to ‘virtual’ teachers. Attach rewards to the leaders, make photo’s of handing this over and spread by social media and on paper.
- Action posters (e.g. “My School Pros: Good education, Cons: Repetitive Strain Injuries”)
- Organize in-school meetup events about the subjects
- Make paper petitions about improvements to the program, and let these do the rounds.
- Hang an Ideas box somewhere collecting tips of specific online work that could be offline.
- Gather people for sit-ins where together you are outside in fresh air working on laptop homework.
- Organize exercise sessions during break-time, to relax muscles, loosen the neck, etc.
We can collect all the actions, lessons-learned, positive results and document methodology in the Campaign, so other people can use this as a recipe to organize themselves. If successful this would be a perfect entry for the ‘Our Stories’ section that we intend to add to the Community Hub.
You could try to avoid using your devices unless you absolutely need to. You could stop all the unnecessary activities and just focus on the most important ones.
- You’ll feel better, rested and more relaxed
- Your quality and quantity of important work accomplished will go up
- You’ll feel better, rested and more relaxed
@Siddhi, it seems to me that you are sensitive and industrious person, so on top of other above mentioned things I would recommend sport or other physical activity (choose hard one) and stay in nature as much as possible (and do not use any wearable, tracking technology) . These two things saved my life, so I guess it would work for you as well…
And as @Free mentioned, as a first step identify things which you can avoid and then concentrate only on important ones. In the end there are just few important things in human life the rest is just illusion of our modern society.
Hi @Siddhi, sorry to hear that and I empathize with you on this feeling…as a university student whose major is computing-related, I feel tired at times staring at lines of code for most of the daytime, and indeed lots of teaching materials and assignments are distributed and done online. I used to feel that there are just so many distractions online that shorten my attention span, so I struggled to treat my computer as a helping tool instead of a harmful machine. That’s when I started to realize the importance of humane technology…
I know that sometimes it’s inevitable to use these devices, so I think the most practical way is to strike a balance between being online and offline through different kinds of activities. I have listed out some approaches I take and hope you will find them helpful!
• if you feel uncomfortable using your computer/phone for a very long time, remember to take breaks regularly (for example, rest your eyes & mind every hour). Stand up and walk around in the room for a while and have some short chats with people.
• it’s wise that you block some distractions on your devices:).
• some have mentioned doing sports, having enough sleep etc. Yes, maintaining good physical health is important and super useful to combat the negative feeling of being glued to these devices!
• if you have extra time besides your study (I know it can be very hard, but it’s important to leave some time for things that free your mind), do things you love that are unrelated to the Internet/etc. For me, reading, taking walks in nature and joining music bands are really good ways to relax. If you don’t know what to do, cultivating a new hobby can be pretty interesting as well!
• one last tip, talking with your friends/family members face-to-face helps as well. Maintaining sincere human interaction in real life can make you feel better.
Hope that you will find a balance in this!
Thank you to everyone that responded. I will be taking all of your advice, I really will. As for sports, I am a swimmer, but my season just ended so that 3 hour screen break I used to get is now gone. It does seem like I am the only one who finds this problematic, because no one else has complained about it before.
I am going to track my use-age of electronics for school for a week and write about what I find here.
There is an actual brain chemical change that happens with screen use- it’s called dopamine and melatonin. This can cause significant issues with sleep cycle interruption and chemical balance in the brain that regulates mood and addiction behavior.
@Siddhi, another option for you is to create a petition on change.org. Many young people do it to bring attention to social issues. You’d have to go public, though, with your name and other details. If you decide to go ahead, let us know so that we can sign your petition.
Great insights from @micheleminno and everyone else.
I am lucky because we value manual work in my university office. I edit on paper, as do my boss and our assistant, Silvana. Paper, pencil, pen are all prized tools of our trade.
At home, I tend to use my laptop in my bedroom. Right next to me is a window where I can gaze at the garden outside and the trees beyond. Is it possible for you to move your computer to a place where you can do something similar?
The other thing I do at home is burn a candle (wonderful scents are available at Papyrus) and play music. These things feed my senses and help me stave off loneliness, which tends to creep in when I am working by myself.
@micheleminno @patm I myself am very fortunate that my life work allows me to unplug and requires my full personal attention working in healthcare. I see tangible results in people’s physical wellbeing and in their emotional responses.
I need to take notes on paper and make lists this way too to function. My kid is kinesthetic as well and I’m fighting hard to teach her this way of living- so she is not chained to a screen out of life skill formation.
Whoever said screens are a way of the future is wrong- I will use a screen when I want and not be a prisoner to technology.
Screen Time Tracker (so everyone can see what I mean)
2hrs finding a room mate on Facebook (not all at once)
2hrs doing AP test review in class
5hrs doing home work through out the day
I had a test in one of my classes where we usually use our computers for everything.
Day 1 Total : Nine hours of “required” screen time
1hr doing class work
2hrs hours doing homework
3 hrs doing college administrative stuff through Facebook and other sites
Today was not as bad because we have exams coming up and not much is going on in class.
Day 2 Total : Six hours of “required” screen time
I use freedom.to to block distractions, and screentime to track the categories I spend time on. Really helps.
Besides that, I’ve been using a A5 notebook which I keep in my pocket, instead of a phone in the past month, together with a dumbphone. I can’t be happier, I sleep way better and it reduced my stress a lot.
Last but not least, I’ve been buying real books lately instead of podcasts, audiobooks and eBooks. Why? Because they end up lying around, and it’s just something way easier to see and pick up after you forgot about it. I’m planning to get all books I want to read physically and have a whole bookcase. It’s also great when friends visit and I can show them my books.
Now there are days I just spend 5 hours on a screen, it’s wonderful. Average of April is just 6 hours!!!
A small blog
Join a year round USA swimming team- they typically work pretty hard so you’ll feel a sense of connection with others toward a new goal. Often your age group has lots of coaching in the area of meditating and focus- technique stroke work- dryland exercise. Keep up the swimming!!
I am so glad you are sharing this experience with us, and that you are dedicating so much attention to it. I’m so sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of technology that is being imposed on you, but I hope the silver lining will be helping others to realize when too much is really too much.
Like many others here, I would also really encourage you to bring this up with any of your professors, student life deans and anyone else who you think would really listen to you. The way you are keeping track of your screen use is fantastic - you could really use that information for an essay or article, perhaps even an infograph that you could then share with other students.
I am pretty sure that many of them feel the way you do, they just don’t feel they have any choice or say in the matter, and so they don’t bring it up - in psychology we call that learned helplessness.
I will also join the others in this group who have offered their help - if my involvement could help you in some way, please let me know. You have enough to worry about in this stage of your life, and being over-stimulated by (often completely unnecessary) tech use just makes everything so much more difficult.
@Siddhi, did you know that Firefox has a high-contrast setting? I started using it because a long online form I have to fill out has so much gray in it that my eyes were starting to tire. Here is a snapshot to give you an idea of what the setting does:
This is my office account (yes, we must use Gmail).
The high-contrast look takes getting used to. At first you will think that too much info is missing for you to work, but I’ve found I actually don’t need it . If you want to experiment, go to Preferences / Language and Appearance / Colors… and select Always.