The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Screens…Friend or Foe?


My eyes burn like I am staring at a fire. Diverting them provides a brief moment of ease before I am drawn back to the blaze to complete an abundant list of assignments. All of them are on the sleek metal device that has been attached to me since childhood. An hour of screen time turns into five. The fire continues to torture my eyes and my head begins to pound. 

I am part of the generation that is said to be satiated with electronic devices. While many believe we are to blame, we have fallen victim to a system that relies too heavily on technology for education, forcing it upon us from a young age. I am witness to how dependent the education system is on technology, as my school requires the use of computers for classes. Students who defy the status quo and attempt to unplug are nonetheless supplied with computers by the school, as Middle School students are given their own Chromebooks and a backup supply is located in the library.

The excessive use of computers can have detrimental effects on students’ mental and physical health. Furthermore, many schools require the use of computers in classes and for homework assignments while simultaneously scolding children for spending too much time on their screens. Schools should contribute to limiting students’ screen time and work to improve students’ mental and physical health. 

According to Exploding Topics, the average teenager spends approximately seven and a half hours on a screen per day, which has continued to increase by 119 minutes since 2015. A significant contributor to this increase is schools, as they have made computers an integral part of the education process. According to the 2024 Gitnux Marketdata report, “61% of American students use laptops in their classrooms” and “87% of students reported that they use digital learning materials at home.” 

Excessive use of computers has serious side effects on children’s physical well-being. According to Better Health Channel, overuse of computers causes back, neck, shoulder, arm pain, and headaches. It can also cause “overuse injury” which “typically occurs in the elbow, wrist or hand of computer users. Symptoms of these overuse injuries include pain, swelling, stiffness of the joints, weakness, and numbness…computer users may get symptoms such as blurred vision, temporary inability to focus on faraway objects, and headaches.”

Howerton Eye Center finds that “high energy visible light, also known as blue rays, are produced by digital devices and easily enter your eyes, thus increasing the risk of eye problems. This light has led to a condition known as ‘digital eye strain’ or ‘computer vision syndrome.’” These chronic eye conditions have the potential to lead to permanent retinal damage. 

The Yale School of Medicine reported on a study done by the Yale Department of Psychiatry and Columbia School of Nursing on the mental effects excessive screen time has on kids. It found that students who had excessive screening experienced “internalizing problems including depression, anxiety, social anxiety, somatic complaints, and other concerns.” The University of California San Francisco found that, “The more time kids spend using screens from ages 9 to 11 years old, the higher their odds of suicidal behaviors two years later, at ages 11 to 13. Specifically, each additional hour of screen time increased the risk by 9%.”

I acknowledge that some students have computer accommodations and therefore extended use of screen time is integral to their learning. In these instances, excessive use is justified; however, care should be taken to limit their exposure when possible. I also acknowledge that computers maintain organization and productivity. However, are we truly going to value efficiency over children’s well-being? 

Children today are being harmed physically and mentally while the hypocritical education system built to shape the minds of the future generation fails to protect us. Although technology is crucial to an extent, we must learn how to consume it in moderation and that begins with learning and practicing it in school. 


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