Activities such as board games offer escape from social media 

Grace Meaux

Quarantine—one word that most of us dread. 

While many students are overwhelmed with online schoolwork, it can be easy to drown in the world of Netflix and social media during free time. However, it is important to take time away from technology and take advantage of the quality time with family. 

According to The New York Times, usage of websites like Facebook, Netflix and Youtube increased by approximately 20 percent between Jan. 15 and March 24. 

A May 12 poll of 143 students revealed that 97 percent of students said that their screen time had increased since the start of quarantine. And considering that our schoolwork is on technology, they were also asked how long they use their devices for entertainment purposes. The poll showed that 40 percent of students used their screens for entertainment about five hours a day.  

Increased screen time has shown to have negative effects on the brain. CNN reported that social media may be slowing down the development of teenagers. This means that spending more time on screens can affect memory, impulse control, academic performance and sleep quality. 

So, why risk it? Sitting in the house can get boring, but logging off devices can be good. Mike Brooks, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist at Psychology Today, recommends only two hours of screen time for teenagers on school days, and up to four hours on weekends. 

Obviously students are exceeding the recommended hours with school alone, so it’s important to refrain from spending extra time on screens. Playing a board game, going outside or picking up a new hobby are great ways to stray away from technology, relax after a long day of online classes and ensure you get a good night’s sleep. 

Since there are a large variety of fun and time-consuming activities to choose from, making decisions about what to play or what to do can be a struggle. However, this obstacle should not prevent people in isolation from finding new ways to pass the time. 

My family’s favorite game to play recently has been Monopoly. My siblings and I played it five nights in a row. A new game we’ve tried is I Dissent, an argumentative game that, in my experience, can get kind of crazy. Other family activities include a game of football in the backyard or a dance party. 

There are also fun hobbies to try like learning a new language, playing an instrument or teaching a pet new tricks. I’ve been experimenting with the guitar which usually takes up hours of my day. I also taught my dog how to give me a high five, which is hard with a puppy, but rewarding in the end. 

The most important thing is that these activities are engaging and keep people in quarantine away from screens.  Let’s lower our screen time and hang out with family. I have a challenge and encourage everyone to participate. Once a week, take one night away from devices and play a game or try a new pastime. Since the quarantine is the best way to avoid coronavirus contagion, this will help make the most of it.

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