b'F ollowing a pandemic year when manyThis also includes tablets and other businesses and schools went online andhandheld devices that use of digital tools skyrocketed, you mayyou or your kids may be struggling to pry yourself away from the screen. From laptops to conduct businessbe tempted to use at and schoolwork, to smartphones to keep in touch,night, which could in-and televisions and tablets for entertainment, theterfere with sleep.time away from technology has likely diminished. While there are essential reasons to use screens, its important to limit time, too. Too much screen time can lead to obesity, sleep problems, chronic neck and back problems, depres-sion, and anxiety. It can impair your eyesight, leading to computer vision syndrome: strained, dry eyes,Use parental controls.blurred vision, and headaches. When children spendThere are tools to filter or block unwanted too much time using screens, it can lower test scorescontent. You can even set daily screen time and lead to decreased self-esteem and an underdevel- limits that can lock apps after a set amountopment of social skills. So, theres an imminent needof time.to limit time in front of electronic devices.Encourage other activities.Drastically limiting screen time may not beThese days its easy to rely on electronics for realistic in the digital world, but these tipsentertainment. Instead, encourage involve-can help slim overall screen time. ment in activities that dont require a screen, like playing outside, reading a book, or play-ing a board game.Model healthy electronic use. Parents are role models for their kids. The next timeKeep bedrooms screen-free. you binge-watch your favorite Netflix series, remem- You might make a rule that electronic devices ber that you are setting an example for your children.are not allowed in the bedroom. This includes Keeping the TV on in the background or scrollingtablets and smartphones that you or your through your phone when you have a spare minutekids may be tempted to use at night, which may not be modeling the behavior you hope to see incould interfere with sleep.your kids.Theres no magic number to use as a guideSet aside time to unplug.for how much screen time is too much. Choose a time for your whole familyProfessionals generally advise no more than to unplug from the phone, TV,two hours per day, outside of work or school, and computer. When youshould be spent in front of a screen. That all agree to put downmeans you and your family should pursue your devices, it givesactivities that dont include screen time and your family the chancemake a concerted effort to decrease the time to spend quality timeyou are attached to a device. The changestogether. you make today can help improve your life and health.27'