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Healthy You

Lead by Example: Screen Time in Adults

Monday, July 25, 2016 8:52 AM

In today’s world, it is hard to “unplug.” Screens are in our face everywhere from our phones to computers at work – even the gas station pumps have screens now. We recommend that children limit their screen time, but it is important for adults to manage their own screen time too.


Etka Patel, MD, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, recommends no more than two hours of screen time outside of work. If that does not seem like a lot to you, don’t worry. Dr. Patel shares tips on how to abide by that:

  • Take the TV out of your bedroom. This will help you fall asleep faster and easier, and stay asleep at night.
  • Keep the phones away from the dinner table and turn your TV off. Make mealtime a screen-free time.
  • Phone a friend instead of texting them or emailing them to catch up. Or you can ditch technology all together and meet up with one another!
  • Log your screen time. Sometimes it can be shocking to see, but it will help you see just how much time is spent sitting on the couch or in front of the computer.
  • Move during breaks. If you are watching your favorite sitcom, get up during commercial breaks. Try doing push-ups, sit-ups, leg raises or jumping jacks. Make it fun for the whole family and make it a challenge to see who can do the most each break.
  • Get a new hobby instead of a new favorite TV series. Start a puzzle, take the dog on a walk instead of checking social media or pick up that book you have been meaning to read.

It is important that you do not use TV or computer time as a reward! When that kind of emphasis is put on your screen time, it makes screen time more important than it is. 

How do you minimize your screen time?