Working With Screens


On paper, online education seems like a very effective way of attending school. With the amount of freedom online learning can give to students one would think that it is a great way to learn, especially with the limitations placed on education due to certain world events. 

However, there are many downsides to learning strictly online, personally, I can think of plenty off the top of my head as I am sure plenty of you can. I am going to focus on one flaw in this, that is the amount of screen time that not only we as students need to go through but also teachers.  

In a recently conducted poll given to students, 90% of poll takers made agreed with the statement, “Are students spending too much time in front of screens every day”. 67% of students who took the survey reported spending at least nine hours in front of screens on a daily basis. 

As most people know, too much screen time can be detrimental to healthA common misconception that many people have had about screens, myself included, is that staring at screens too much will worsen eyesight. However, according to Harvard Medical School, staring at screens will strain and tire the eyes but will not worsen vision. For years I have thought that the reason my vision is so bad is because of screens, though I’m sure that doesn’t help.  

The Minnesota Department of Health has published an article which talks about the negative effects that screens have on health. Excessive screen time has been linked to irregular sleep, behavioral problems, impaired social skills (more so for developing minds but still affects teenagers), among other issues 

Not only would decreasing screen time for school be good for our health but would also increase moral as a big issue is not only motivation and difficulty with learning through screens but also because even though online learning is not a new concept as a whole, it is new to us. In such trying times adjusting to drastically different ways to learn is a bit unreasonable, but there isn’t much that can be done about that. 

There are a few ways to improve the situation. I would suggest more work available off screens. Attending classes has to be done on screens for now, that can’t be changed, but what can be changed is the screen time outside of the school day. In most of my classes, the homework is online, allowing for paper options would be very helpful with decreasing screen time. Not everyone would take advantage of this option but those who would are going to benefit greatly.  

Changes to how RJ handles this aren’t the only way to improve the situation, we as students can also put in some work to help ourselves. When asked about how he deals with eye strain after a long day of screens Zachary Cook ‘21 he suggests “The 20 20 rule where for every 20 minutes you look at a screen, you should look away for 20 seconds to let your eyes rest” This is an interesting way to alleviate eye stress that I tried for a few days after hearing it and can say that it does work, I just forget to do it when I need it most.  

As the exhausted statement goes, this has been a crazy year to be sure, but it can still improve as we wait for it to be safe enough to go back to school.