Screen time and well-being at post-secondary school

Published on May 2, 2024

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A post-secondary student engaging in screen time at a coffee shop

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Scrolling through social media. Streaming videos. Taking notes. Playing games. Doing research… A typical day for some post-secondary students can include a lot of screen time, and as you can probably guess, the hours can add up. On this page, Good2Talk collaborates with The Knowledge Institute to share information about screen time and your mental health and well-being. You can find a link to The Knowledge Institute’s website to read their full resource about screen use at the end of this page.

Screen time (or screen use) refers to the periods you spend on electronic devices (e.g. phones, computers, TVs, tablets, etc.). It can be active (when you’re directly engaging with something on a screen) or passive (when you’re aware of a screen but not directly engaging with it).

The amount of screen time that makes sense in a given day is different for everyone. The possible impacts of screen use are different for each person, too. Some potential effects of screen time might include:

  • a feeling of being supported when connecting with online communities
  • an opportunity to gather information and learn new things
  • being able to stay connected with friends, family / community members, professors, Elders, classmates, etc.
  • boosted productivity / efficiency
  • disrupted sleep patterns
  • enhanced physical health (e.g. access to online exercise classes, etc.)
  • impacts on academic performance
  • increased stress levels
  • less physical activity
  • more equitable access to education / information, programs / services, etc.
  • peer pressure to act a certain way, meet certain expectations, etc.
  • strained eyesight

Screen time (tap for information from ConnexOntario) can become a concern if it starts to interfere with how you function in your daily life. Tips to use screens in less intrusive ways can include:

  • having open conversations about screen use with your peers
  • limiting screen time before going to sleep
  • regularly evaluating how using electronic devices makes you feel
  • scheduling some screen-free time during your day
  • setting boundaries / limits around your screen use
  • using screens in a more mindful / active / purposeful way

No matter how you’re feeling about screen time and / or your mental health and well-being, you’re not alone. To discover more ways to reflect on your screen use and its effects, you can explore The Knowledge Institute’s website.

You might notice The Knowledge Institute uses different language, style, processes, etc. than Good2Talk. You can always use the words, resources and supports that work best for you.

Are you trying to manage your screen time and / or prioritize your wellness as a post-secondary student? You can contact a professional counsellor or volunteer crisis responder 24/7. We’re Good2Talk whenever you need us!

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