Complete Story


Tracking Screen Time Is Ruining Your Life

No one really knows how much screen time is too much

A few years ago, I was sitting with my friends from high school one night when the topic of our tracked screen time came up. Unlike me, they both have full-time jobs that have nothing to do with the internet. They barely use social media and have never once tweeted. "Man, my screen time is way up," one of them said. The other agreed. I did, too; I was also spending more time on my phone, and it was concerning. But when I asked what their alarming new averages were, both told me with concern that their screen time was up to three hours, from their usual two.

This sent me into a spiral. While they were worried about a meager three hours, I was spending seven hours a day looking at my phone. I spent the following weeks actively trying to bring the number down. I deleted social media apps off my phone, but instead I just ended up looking at my account using my phone's browser. Then, I deactivated the apps entirely, but I just ended up replacing my social media habit with other forms of mindless browsing. I spent hours reading Reddit threads about which I didn't care. I turned my phone to grayscale; I charged it outside of my bedroom at night; I downloaded apps to keep me from opening other apps.

Nothing really worked, obviously. Instead, when I used my phone, I would just end up scrolling through everything I missed feverishly. Over time, I realized that worrying about reducing my screen time made me feel crazier than when I wasn't paying attention to it at all. I had created a problem that didn't exist.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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