How to Combat High Screen Time & Zoom Fatigue

How to Combat High Screen Time & Zoom Fatigue

By Celina Saba, Staff Writer

While having classes virtually is keeping students and faculty safe from the risks of COVID-19, many are suffering from the high screen time and fatigue from Zoom.

According to CareWell Urgent Care, too much screen time causes vision issues, chronic neck and back pain, poor sleep, and impaired cognitive function. For the countless people who have been experiencing fatigue and exhaustion more frequently after Zoom sessions, you are not alone. According to Harvard Business Review, “‘Zoom fatigue’ stems from how we process information over video. In part, it’s because they force us to focus more intently on conversations in order to absorb information.”

While reducing screen time with e-learning is not possible, there are ways to help lessen the side effects.

1. Purchase Blue Light Glasses

Blue light glasses have recently become a trend. They are non-prescription glasses that help limit exposure from blue lights emitted from our screens. Our screens are emitting blue light that negatively affects our vision. Long exposure causes headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. For more information on blue-light glasses check out the article: The New “It” Accessory for Zoom: Blue Light Glasses.

2. Night Shift-Mode

For those who don’t find the blue-light glasses a suitable option, turning on night shift-mode on electronic devices can also help. It decreases the blue light emitted from our screens by allowing the screen to lose its blue cool colors, and gain orange warm tones.

3. Get Up and Go Outside!

One of the biggest problems with e-learning is that students and faculty are spending up to 7 hours sitting in front of their screens. In doing so, it negatively impacts one’s metabolism. These changes make obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues more likely. To prevent those major health issues, we need to make sure we get enough exercise and a change of scenery. A simple walk around the block can be very beneficial, as a marathon is not necessary to keep us healthy. If going outside to exercise is not an option, simply taking a break to sit under the sun is very helpful.

4. Exercise and Stretch

Chronic neck and back pain are real concerns with virtual classes. According to New York Orthopedic Surgeon Kenneth Hansraj from Surgical Technology International, “As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees.” After a while, the heavy force on your neck will cause great pain. To help prevent that from happening, take a few minutes after each class during breaks to stretch. Stretching your neck in a circular motion or even doing yoga positions can help release tension in the body and will greatly help.

5. Reduce Onscreen Stimuli

When attending Zoom calls, students and faculty should be wary of the gallery view feature. This is because while it’s nice to be able to see everyone, it is a lot of information for us to retain. Using the gallery view is the same as being in different rooms at the same time. You won’t just focus on the faces of the meeting members, but also on their backgrounds. This means that your brain has to process all of these visuals at the same time, causing mental fatigue. To combat this, turn off the gallery view and use speaker view instead. This will give you only one thing to focus on at a time.

Many students are taking these tips and implementing them into their daily routine.

“I got blue light glasses recently because it puts less strain on my eyes when I’m trying to read something off of my screen,” junior Leighla Sedghi said.

Sophomore Andreea Stanciu also has a plan to combat the negative side effects of e-learning. “I try to get out as much as I can during breaks so that I’m not always staring at a screen. I also try to exercise as much as possible since we aren’t in school.”

Overall, while e-learning is keeping everyone safe from the dangers of Covid-19, we still need to keep ourselves healthy and safe while at home from its harmful side effects.