Thirty-Four Years on Screens?!

kids on phones

If you’ve ever worried whether or not you spend too much time looking at screens, consider this: A new study commissioned by Vision Direct reports that “the typical person will spend a staggering 34 years looking at phones, computers or televisions.” Staggering actually seems like the correct word to use here, especially when I consider the fact that I haven’t even been alive that long yet.

Study Finds also reported that during the typical adult lifespan (from ages 18 to 81), a person will be glued to their screens—both for business and recreation—for more than 13 hours a day. What’s more, even though more than half of the survey respondents admitted that their screen time strained their eyes, four out of 10 said they rarely stop to rest their vision. Four in 10 also said that their kids spend too much time on their devices as well. But of those parents, only a third felt empowered to tell their children to turn off the screens.

During the coronavirus pandemic, of course, screen time figures have spiked even higher, and navigating device usage can seem a more daunting task than ever before. But there are some solutions. Focus on the Family offers “A Parents’ Guide to Screen Time During Coronavirus,” which in addition to offering more information about extended screen time and its effects on your family also offers some practical advice—such as how to set boundaries regarding devices and some suggestions on what to do instead. And as for resting your eyes, Vision Direct recommends following the 20-20-20 rule. That is, every 20 minutes look away from the screen for 20 seconds at something that’s 20 feet away.

The Cannes Film Festival, which had been scheduled to start May 12, was cancelled this year due to COVID-19. For many moviegoers, this may not seem like a tragic loss, since most of us weren’t planning to go anyways (as it’s largely reserved for film industry professionals and the press). However, New York Times writers Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott and Kyle Buchanan all agree that the general public may be losing more than they realize. Last year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Parasite, likely wouldn’t have been such an international success were it not for the publicity generated by the festival. Said Dargis, “Disney can dominate opening weekends with just its brand. But movies like Parasite need festivals, and to go really big, I think they need Cannes.”

The critics also discussed whether or not quarantine and the cancellation of major film festivals could have a permanent effect on the way people view films, arguing that “when you pause a movie or start texting midway through it, you turn a movie into television. … It’s about community, which doesn’t exist when you stream Netflix at home while eating your Postmates delivery.” A survey from Slate reinforced those observations, as it revealed that 91% of people will not attend theaters when they reopen if distancing measures aren’t practiced. And 71% are hesitant to go even with measures in place.

While the future of the movie industry in a post-coronavirus world is still largely uncertain, the music industry is determined to keep its live-show community spirit alive. MTV reports that last month, “a one-night music festival drew 130,000 attendees and raised $50,000 for charity. It was called Square Garden, it featured artists such as Charli XCX, Cashmere Cat, and 100 gecs, and it all took place in the video game Minecraft.” This is just one of several Minecraft concerts that have taken place since stay-at-home orders were given. According Eden Segal-Grossman (one of the organizers of the event), “you get the same feeling of going to an actual concert… Even though you’re sitting at home, you still feel like you’ve been to something big—you’ve been a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Hailey and Justin Bieber, meanwhile, once again got candid about their marriage this week on their new Facebook Watch series, The Biebers on Watch. Billboard quoted some of Justin’s thoughts about premarital sex now that he’s married, including the idea that he’d do things differently in that area of his life if he had a do-over: “Probably a lot of things I would change. I don’t regret anything because I think it makes you who you are, and you learn from things. If I could go back and not have to face some of the bad hurt that I went through, I probably would’ve saved myself for marriage.” While Hailey didn’t quite agree, she did say, “I do agree with the fact that being physical with someone can make things more confusing.” And in a conversation with Natalie Manuel Lee for Hillsong’s YouTube channel, she also said, “All the ugly stuff that we both went through—it has to be a bigger conversation to help other people.”

Finally, TikTok has been accused by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy (as well as 18 other children’s and consumer groups) of violating promises to increase privacy for children’s accounts. The New York Times reports that as part of a settlement last year regarding charges that it had violated the federal children’s online privacy law, TikTok agreed to obtain a parent’s permission before collecting their child’s personal information. TikTok also agreed to delete personal information, videos and any other personal details of users younger than 13 or whose ages were unknown. Thus far, the video-sharing app has failed to abide by these regulations, and it is currently unknown if there will be further inquiries into the matter.

Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.