For those of you with children living at home, I am going to bet that you have admonished them about the amount of time they are fixated to their tablets, smart phones, electronic games and televisions. Those of you my age may add to this admonishment a statement that really annoys them: “When I was a kid, I played outside with my friends.”
Okay, now we need to take a look at ourselves: How much screen time takes up your day? Now, I can see already some of the defense mechanisms rising up and an immediate answer may start off with “Work requires me to_____”. And of course, this is true and reality: Depending on the occupation, there may be hours of screen time required to conduct business.
However, let’s place work aside for a minute and discuss how much “non work” screen time you are engaged with on a daily/weekend basis. The first issue: I bet that many people (including me) significantly underestimate the amount of time they are involved with any device that has screens.
Here is an exercise (well, not one that burns calories): For one day (preferably a non-work day) use your smart phone timer to time every minute you are engaged in screen time. Simply hit the “start” button when you begin, the “stop” button when you stop but do not hit “reset”. Then, when you engage in screen time, hit the “start” button again.
You may be surprised to find that in the process of checking your Facebook feeds, seeing what the weather will be next week, going back and forth texting a friend/family member, binge watching some show, taking pictures of the bird in your back yard, playing some electronic game with your child, surfing the net for some recipe, etc, etc etc: You may be on these screens LOTS more than you thought.
Those minutes/hours spent on screen time could have been used for: exercise, constructing your meal plan for the following week, keeping a food intake journal and other activities that would HELP your weight control efforts.
So, the message for today: Some “screen time” is necessary but lots of it is wasted time that could be better spent devoted to helping you become healthier and happier. Do a self-assessment of your own screen time.