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As the Coronavirus began to sweep the globe, entire communities were forced inside. Office cubicles moved to make-shift desks in the bedroom; schools moved to kitchen tables; and physician practices moved online. With these moves and lifestyle shifts that were meant to protect ourselves from the virus came other risks. Risks that included increased screen time. 

Our amount of screen time has increased over the years and even prompted Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone, to introduce an update (iOS 12 released in 2018) that tracks screen time, including week-over-week trends. In the time of coronavirus and quarantine, screen time is at peak levels. That’s why it is important, now more than ever, to set limits on how much time children spend in front of digital devices (smartphones, computers, televisions). It’s not easy, yet it is critical for their development and growth. The team at GoCheck has compiled a list of tips, tricks and resources that we find useful. 

What are some ways to reduce screen time?

The team at All About Vision compiled a list of recommendations. Some of their tips include: 

  • Enjoy your meals screen-free
    • Encourage yourself, and your family, to not watch television while eating. And leave the cell phone in the other room. Make mealtime family time, read a chapter of that book on your bedside table, or listen to that new podcast episode.
  • Bring back the phone call
    • After hours of video conferences and virtual learning every day, instead of joining in the group chat, try picking up the phone and catching up with a friend or family member. The social connection of hearing someone else’s voice will be a nice respite from your device.
  • Do nothing at all
    • Quite simply, go outside and stare at the clouds. Enjoy the sounds of nature. Or simply sit inside and meditate. These are just some restorative exercises for your eyes, mind and body.

To see more tips and recommendations for reducing screen time, you can check out the complete article on the All About Vision website

How should I set up my home office/virtual school for optimal use?

TODAY has published their recommendations for reducing screen time, including ways to set up your homework/learning environment to reduce body strain, including eye strain. Some of their recommendations include:

  • Set up your screen properly
    • Ensure that your computer screen is at eye level or slightly below to reduce strain on your neck and eyes. To reduce glare, ensure that there is not a window directly behind you.
  • Keep artificial tears on hand
    • When you look at a screen for an extended period of time, you tend to blink less. Blinking is a critical function for your eye to keep moist, thus the absence of blinking can lead to dry eyes.

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