According to Time Magazine, “Excessive screen time has been shown to have negative effects on children and adolescents. It’s been linked to psychological problems, such as higher rates of depression and anxiety, as well as health issues” . So, how do we balance going to university that mandates laptops instead of notebooks when so much is on the line?
To begin with, cut out allocated times of your day where you are purposely getting away from screens. With midterms ending and finals just around the corner, this can seem like an impossible task. However, giving yourself this time to disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself will allow for a clear mind that performs better in the academic world. Some suggestions to fill these screen free hours are going on a walk, reading a book, cooking, or taking up a new hobby.
Consider limiting the amount of screens you are using for a single task. Many of us are simultaneously working from our laptop and tablet, checking our phones all while having something playing in the background. This prohibits our brain from focusing on one assignment at a time and therefore fully engaging with anything. So instead of concentrating on a film or on a university assignment your mind is stuck in limbo of half comprehension.
Using multiple screens also induces eye strain and other physical discomfort. According to a study conducted by The Vision Council 75% percent of multiple device users showed symptoms of eye strain compared to only 53% of single device users. This study among others proves the importance of not only unplugging but limiting the amount of devices you use at once. Leading to a healthier mindset and healthier habits. Designating each device to a specific task can help. For example, only use your phone for personal activities and only use your computer for work/university related activities.
Use notebooks whenever possible. Writing things down by hand helps to strengthen our memory, improve learning, boosts creativity and enhances focus. Specifically, using notebooks in class to take notes opposed to typing notes will make a huge difference. Although the university is paperless it does not mean we need to be. Using notebooks during class is a great way to stay focused on the task at hand. Writing things down as opposed to typing increases our chances of remembering what we wrote significantly. We all know how easy it is to get distracted during lectures, swiping in between multiple tabs, checking whatsapp and doing everything besides taking notes. Eliminate these distractions and unplug by bringing a notebook and a pen and keeping the laptop closed whenever you can.
Unplugging from technology is progressively more important in the digitized world we live in, and it is even more important when attending a fully paperless university. It is extremely easy to get caught in the never ending spider web of emails, blackboard notifications, assignments and other distractions and that is why it is so pivotal to unplug; to get away from all the notifications and other noise that drains our brain.Being constantly plugged in leaves us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted, so take the break you need and get off your devices. Unplugging has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, improve relationships, and be more productive. So after reading this article, close your computer or your phone and take a break from it all. You deserve it.