If you ask anyone you know about tech device use, they would most likely agree that their screen time has increased dramatically during COVID19. School nurses know the negative impact that increases in screen time may have on both student and adult health, such as contributing to depression, anxiety, obesity, and vision problems. Researchers in Canada have recently determined that people who take time to exercise indoors or outdoors and purposefully decrease time spent watching TV or use of tech devices enjoy better mental and general health than those who do not, specifically during the COVID19 time period.
School nurses may consider encouraging students and staff during health office visits or virtual encounters to monitor their screen time, and build in time for fresh air and leisure activities off of tech devices. School nurses may also suggest that members of the school community have at least one “media-free” meal per day, meaning a meal is enjoyed without a device nearby or a television on in the distance. Students and staff should also be reminded to turn off screens at least two hours before bed to support optimal sleep. School nurses may read more or point families to the Center on Media and Child Health Family Digital Wellness Guide for more information on screen time and tips for healthy use of screens and tech across age groups.