Thrive Global
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Thrive Global

Too much screen time is today’s smoking

…and why that should give us hope

1. The science is warning us

2. Kids are more at risk

3. Second-hand digital overload

Image courtesy of Unsplash

First steps to turning the tide?

  • First, we could start treating excess screen time as the unhealthy behavior that it is. To ask employees, for example, to be always plugged in is counter to the spirit of a healthy office.
  • Second, we could start treating excess screen time with — and around — kids like we would smoking around kids. We should limit the amount of smoking we do in proximity to children and, similarly, we should limit the amount we are distracted by screens in proximity to children.
  • Finally, and most concretely, we could start treating pulling out a cellphone in a restaurant similar to pulling out a cigarette. Restaurants and their guests understand that some folks are smokers, but they ask that they smoke in designated areas, so as to avoid second-hand smoke. Similarly, we can understand that some folks need to send a text or make a phone call, but we could start expecting ourselves to check our phones in designated areas, so as to avoid second-hand screen time.

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