Staff Ed: The effect of social media, large amounts of screen time has on students


Photo by Kate Johnson

This is an example of the weekly screen time reports Apple sends out. Everyday it tracks your amount of time spent on the device and compares it to past weeks.

Social media is being used more than ever while everyone’s lives are being moved online, especially for students in school 100% online. Social media can be a large powerful platform that can affect many people in many ways. 

While everyone had to adapt to online learning and sports that included a lot of screen time, this could have a positive and negative effect on many. 

 iPhones come out with weekly screen time reports every Sunday, which tells users their average time on the device, and the percent increase or decrease from the past week. These reports really make people realize how much life has switched to online. 

“My screen time has increased because of school and staying connected with my friends without seeing them on a daily basis like normal,” junior Annika Citsay said.

Junior Marissa Horwath added,  “It had a positive effect because it feels like I am on it less now.” 

Travis M. Andrews wrote in his article iPhone Screen Time Reports that it is best to “balance increased screen time with a walk or hike, be intentional about taking breaks, and it’s important to be mindful of how that screen time is used.” 

Citsay and Horwath feel they definitely use their screens more often and that they have to. It is a new way of life. 

With losing almost every aspect of connection with people on a daily basis, everyone had to find their way to keep that connection alive. Citsay said Facetime was the best way to do that because you still can have live conversations with friends, somewhat like normal. Horwath said Snapchat felt like the app that was the best way of communication. 

From Benjamin Williams article Living Life Online he said, “Many older adolescents have adopted strategies to manage their mental health and balance their usage, whether by taking social media breaks, changing their settings, or avoiding certain apps.” 

Staying motivated at home can be tricky with all distractions from home around at all times. “I feel that I usually have a pretty healthy balance between being productive but also taking breaks to be on social media. Having a good balance is helpful, but I know there are people that are having a pretty hard time [separating] the two and frankly, being successful,” Citsay said

People have been using their social media platforms as ways to create new content. The content Horwath was seeing was “mostly people doing stuff in quarantine to waste time, and it is a switch from normal content because there are normally pictures of everyone out, but there isn’t much of that this year,” Citsay said. Since nobody’s going anywhere the content she normally sees is very different.

This has been a big change from normal life, but students are learning to adapt the best they can. Social media is a way of communication, finding out news, and staying connected. You just need to find your perfect balance.