How to Balance and Manage Phone Screen Time for Nigerian Youths

by Favour Anthony
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Managing the phone screen time.

With so many exciting things available online in this digital era, it’s easy to become engrossed in your phone such that you lose track of time. You get entertained by switching from one app or website to another, until you have exhausted your data subscription or your phone goes off. 

Technology has brought tremendous benefits to Nigerian youths. However, excessive phone screen time can be detrimental to our health. Hence, the need to learn how to balance phone screen time arises. 

If you’re addicted to your phone and you need help balancing your screen time, you should read this article.

Impacts of Excessive Screen Time on Mental and Physical Health and Why You Should Manage Them

Screen time is the amount of time spent using electronic devices, including computers, tablets, smartphones, and televisions. Research has shown that the “estimated number of internet users in Nigeria as of 2022 was more than 83 million, with over 32% of this population between the ages of 18 and 24.” 

Technology has undoubtedly improved lives in underdeveloped nations like Nigeria, but too much screen time can be harmful to our mental and physical health. Overuse of screens has been linked to several health problems, such as a higher risk of obesity, sleeplessness, listlessness, and poor academic performance in Nigerian youths.

Despite these underlying risks that come with spending too much time behind the phone’s screen, youths are still susceptible to the appeal of screens. Thus, parents and guardians should endeavour to regularly monitor their usage of device screens.

Excessive exposure to social media can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, ultimately reducing youths’ productivity. By establishing healthy screen time habits, we can foster a positive digital environment and encourage offline activities that promote social interaction and personal growth.

Read also: Life-Enhancing Benefits of Walking: The Magic Wand to Healthy Living

Common Challenges in Managing Phone Screen Time

Bad habits do not develop overnight. Subconsciously, we might have taken consistent steps in the wrong direction before it became an addiction. Particularly with enjoyable activities, you may find yourself in the throes of a bad addiction before you realize it. 

For young people, managing screen time can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Let’s focus on a few of them.

  1. Availability of smartphones

The availability of smartphones and other electronic gadgets is undoubtedly one of the major challenges that young people face when it comes to limiting their device screen time. With the increasing affordability and accessibility of technology, youths are often surrounded by screens, making it impossible to impose restrictions.

  1. The influence of peer pressure

Another challenge is the influence of peer pressure and societal norms. Many Nigerian youths feel the need to constantly be connected and engaged with their peers through social media and messaging apps. This can lead to a fear of missing out (FOMO) and make it harder to establish boundaries.

  1. The addictive nature of certain apps and games

Social media platforms and online games are designed to be engaging, and youths can easily lose track of time while using them, making it difficult to self-regulate their screen time.

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Tips for Establishing Healthy Phone Screen Time Habits

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing device screen time, there are general guidelines that can help Nigerian youths strike a healthy balance between technology and other aspects of their lives.

  1. Setting boundaries and creating a screentime schedule

Everything begins with you. Managing phone screen time might be challenging, but it does not have to be. Start by establishing clear rules for screen time usage. You can use apps or tools that track your screen time and tell you when you reach your limit. 

Alternatively, you can create a screen schedule that is visible and accessible to everyone in the household. This will support your resolve and serve to hold you accountable.

Read also: What Next After School? 7 Tips to Surviving Life After College

  1. Encouraging alternative activities and hobbies

If your phone dies and you are unable to charge it, what would you do? You would, I bet, engage yourself in offline activities like sports, reading, or going outside that do not require staring at a phone screen. 

By taking up hobbies that allow you a break from technology or participating in offline activities, you may be certain to become less dependent on the screen of your smartphone and create a well-rounded lifestyle.

  1. Avoid using screens before bed

Your body produces melatonin – a hormone that controls your sleep cycle, but the blue light generated by your phone screen may interfere with this process. Sleeping through the night can be difficult as a result of this. To prevent this, give your phone a break for at least an hour before going to bed.

It is important to note that these guidelines are not set in stone and may be adapted to suit individual needs and circumstances. However, they provide a useful starting point for establishing healthy screen time habits.

Read also: 10 Effective Time Management Tips for Nigerian Students

Roles of Parents and Guardians in Helping Youths Manage Their Device Screen Time

Young people learn by example. Therefore, guardians and parents must realize how important it is to help their children learn how to set time limits on the time they spend staring at screens. When parents model good screen habits and exercise moderation, the youths around them will be motivated to adopt similar habits.

Additionally, parents and guardians should engage their young ones in open and honest conversations about the benefits and potential risks of excessive screen time. Even though young people frequently experience the urge to behave in a particular way due to their innocence, it is the responsibility of their parents to support them and acknowledge that managing screen time is a continuous learning process. 

By educating youths about responsible technology use, they will be mentally prepared to navigate the digital world safely.

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Managing screen time is of utmost importance for the well-being of Nigerian youths. By understanding the impact of excessive screen time, setting guidelines, and implementing strategies to establish healthy habits, parents and guardians can help their young ones strike a balance between technology and a healthy lifestyle.

Edited by Priscilla Ajayi.

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