By: Natalie Newman

In modern times, using technology as the primary form of entertainment is simply unavoidable. With the advancement of cellphones and artificial intelligence, technology has changed the way kids live their everyday lives. It has become the center of attention for kids, even at a very young age. From babies watching YouTube to children playing games and teens on social media, children everywhere rely heavily on technology to keep them entertained, and so do their parents. Though technology gives us access to many games and sources of entertainment, it is important for everyone’s well-being that we put down the screens and find some other way to spend our time.

Start slow. Try putting your phone down for an hour, or even limiting the amount of television you watch. It’s easy to get caught up in our virtual lives, so beginning the process of less screen time in your everyday routine can help clear your mind. Many times your mind is filled with to-do lists and painstaking chores that you need to complete. Forcing yourself to become less dependent on technology and more self-aware may even bring you new hobbies, new friends, and improve your mental health overall. Activities such as baking, going for a hike, or playing a board game are fun and exciting ways to entertain yourself, without the use of technology. Having fun isn’t necessarily about leveling up in your favorite online game, it’s about the experiences you can have throughout your life; with or without technology. Not only does technology create a barrier in creating real-life experiences, but it also has negative side effects that can hurt you in the long run.

Staring at a cellphone or a small device can start to become painful and even cause damage to your eyes, brain, and body. A study done by Dr. Shaji John Kachanathu states, “Incorrect posture of the head or neck has been correlated with chronic musculoskeletal pain.” The constant bad posture that occurs when you bend your head down to look at a technological divide such as a cellphone could end up causing muscular pain in the future.

Studies show trends with the millennial generation and younger use their phones and other technology to cope with stress, which tends to cause them more stress in return. An article called The Use of Smartphones to Cope with Stress in University Students: Helpful or Harmful? by Emma. A Flynn, et al, reports that of a study of 250 university students who completed a Stress Scale and Phone Dependence survey, students who were highly stressed were far more dependent on smartphones as a coping mechanism than less stressed students. When students choose to resort to phones when they’re stressed, the constant reminders of other people’s “perfect lives” and successes on social media only make students feel like a failure. Painting and journaling are great ways to clear your mind and allow yourself to express your creativity. If you’re stressed, try treating yourself to a little “you time” before you start your work again.

No one can be certain as to what Viking kids used to keep themselves entertained. What we can tell you is that while keeping yourself occupied without a cellphone or technology may seem impossible, even the simplest act such as walking your dog or playing card games with friends can change entertainment for the better. For more information about how to take control over technology, read Taking Control of Technology For a Healthy You.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How can you entertain yourself without technology? Give at least two examples.
  2. Imagine a day of no technology (no cellphones or any device). What would you do that day?
  3. What are a few positives and negatives to the use of technology in your life?
  4. What do you believe the purpose of entertainment is? Why?
  5. Why do you think people can’t go long periods of time without technology?
  6. Challenge you and a friend or two to spend a certain amount of time without technology, it can be anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. How do you feel after? What did you do? Do you think you could do this more often?


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