The Importance of Having Device, Screen-Free Time

Sep, 18, 2017

By Fredrica Syren:

Be honest — how often have you looked at a screen today? These days, it seems we all are glued to our computers, phones and tablets. And I’m as guilty of it as anyone. I see parents at the park totally occupied with their phones while their kids are playing by themselves. I see parents walking with strollers while looking at a phone. Myself, I look at my phone when I wake up and sometimes it’s the last thing I do before I go to sleep. It’s pretty frightening that we feel we have less time these day but, of course, we’re busy checking out what the rest of the world is doing all the time.

Through my job, I do communicate via email and text, so now I have found myself accessible all the time. I realized that I had started having sleeping problems because if I woke up middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I would check my phone to find what time it was. Then I would see that there were work texts or email, so I would start responding to them. Afterward, I would have problems going back to sleep. Finally, I started leaving the phone in kitchen to reduce my own device time.

Because of IPhones and IPads, we’re almost never off from work anymore, so finding a healthy balance between work and home/personal life has become a struggle. A survey conducted by Deloitte in 2016 found that here in the U.S. alone we check our phones about 46 times a day at least, and most of this happens during our leisure time while we’re with family and friends or watching TV. It’s hard to avoid because our phones are always with us wherever we go.

Here are some good reasons for reducing our device time:

  1. Lets us use old fashioned handwriting
  2. Calms the mind
  3. Encourages better sleep—As I said, not worrying about work or what’s happening in the world makes you sleep way better.
  4. Better eating habits—It’s like eating in front of the TV: you don’t notice or even enjoy what you’re eating and digestion might suffer.
  5. Better communication—I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had a text message or email that has been misunderstood. Oral communication is a much better way to deal with things rather than, let’s say, Facebook or Instagram or texting.
  6. It might save your life—How many people have gotten hurt in traffic because of using their devices?
  7. Better eyesight—Yes, prolonged use of mobiles and IPads may harm your eyesight.
  8. Better relationship with your kids—It makes me so sad when I see children playing alone in the park while their parent is glued to the phone. Kids naturally want your attention all day and, in my opinion, they deserve it.


Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)

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