It is no surprise that staying at home has caused a sudden rise in technology usage for many individuals ? especially teenagers. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have been forced to spend months on end indoors, aside from occasional trips to the grocery store or other essential errands. As a result, nearly all traditional activities have been altered into virtual events in order to accommodate for the necessary safety precautions. Consequently, society’s previous reliance on phones, computers, tablets, and televisions has grown tremendously in the past year.
Even prior to the pandemic, technology has been an essential part of most people’s everyday lives. However, social distancing has undeniably led to a notable increase in screen time for teenagers. Many people have found themselves becoming extremely dependent on technology for social, educational, and entertainment purposes, among several others.
In lieu of conventional social interactions, people have opted to connect with friends, family, and peers through a multitude of online platforms. Aside from the standard exchange of text messages and phone calls, individuals have downloaded various third-party apps in order to enhance their virtual communications. Applications such as Discord and Houseparty allow for seamless video conferencing with loved ones, while Instagram and Snapchat enable users to connect with each other by posting and sharing content such as photos and videos. Without the ability to go out and spend time with friends, teenagers may find themselves spending hours on end on such social media platforms.
Meanwhile, many individuals’ educational institutions have shifted towards primarily virtual versions of their standard practices. Thousands of schools have transitioned to online systems consisting of online classes hosted on Zoom or Google Meet, resulting in a daily six hours of constant screen time. In conjunction with completing online assignments and potentially reading or watching supplementary resources to aid their studies, students’ screen times for school alone can often add up very quickly.
After a stressful day of distance learning, many teenagers are enticed by the opportunity to relax and unwind, often through digital means. In particular, watching movies or shows through online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus has gained immense popularity during the pandemic. Alternatively, many teenagers have downloaded a wide variety of games that can be played on almost any platform imaginable. Such games offer a fun way to de-stress during such troubling times.
With the abundance of resources that technology offers, it is no surprise that teenagers’ screen times have risen in recent times. Although the numbers may seem alarming at first glance, it is important to note the various uses of our devices. In many instances, especially now, technology can be instrumental in contributing to individuals’ success, productivity, and well-being. Despite the difficulties the pandemic has brought about, we can hardly imagine how much worse it would be without the aid of our technological advancements.