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Top tips for reducing screen time

6 January 2022

With the new hybrid model of teaching, students are spending more and more time exposed to screens. To help reduce screen time, try UCL student Isabelle Osborne’s three tips.

Women in yellow jumper working on laptop

1.    Set boundaries

The amount of time we spend on screens is often the result of habit. As with anything, having expectations of yourself in regard to when you’ll be on your screen and when you won’t is a helpful step for reducing the time you spend on them.

Rather than switching your phone on as soon as you rise in the morning, spend the first hour or so away from your phone so you develop a distance from it whilst you wake up. 

Similarly, decide on a time you’re going to turn your screens off in the evening, preferably an hour or so before you sleep. Setting these boundaries with yourself may help you build a healthier routine with your screens.

Try establishing a window of time in the day when you’ll be on your device that you don’t necessarily need it for work or educational purposes. 

This is the window when you may wish to check your alerts and notifications or scroll through your favourite apps. 

If you have an iPhone, there is an option to set app limits on your phone, as well as an insights tracker to see how much time you spend on specific apps. 

Try setting a time limit on the app, so once you’ve spent the set amount of time on it your phone will temporarily lock the app until you decide to unlock it. 

2.    Find an alternative

You may find you turn to your screen when you’re bored, or you need something to pass the time. 

Perhaps you scroll aimlessly on your phone whilst awaiting an appointment or traveling from home to campus.

Rather than deferring to a screen in these moments, grab something else that can draw your attention, like a good book.
If you’re struggling to find something to do in an evening, try a crossword puzzle or start a colouring project. 

3.    Set yourself a challenge

Creating challenges to help you reduce the amount of time you spend on your screens might make the process a little more bearable. 

Graduate of Durham University and YouTuber Jack Edwards recently created a video where he spent the average amount of time he spends on his phone per day reading books instead.

His daily average time spent on his phone went from 4.5 hours to 52 minutes, and he spent 35 hours of the week reading. 

Try switching off your phone/laptop for 24 hours. Choose a day which you know you don’t need to use your devices for work or educational purposes and spend the day doing the things you often set aside when you are drawn to your screens. 

This might be a long walk, a meet up with a friend, practising a musical instrument or exercising.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash