Video games connect distant friends online, but to what extent?

Michael+Tam%2C+an+11th+grader+plays+on+the+Nintendo+Switch+last+year.+Increased+screen+time+has+made+some+people+question+whether+teenagers+are+in+front+of+their+screens+too+much.

Kayla Marutani

Michael Tam, an 11th grader plays on the Nintendo Switch last year. Increased screen time has made some people question whether teenagers are in front of their screens too much.

Kaitlin Yoshihara, Staff Writer

During the pandemic, it was difficult to find ways to get together with my friends, so we replaced all the time we spent together in person by going online.

With schools turning to distance learning due to new Covid-19 restrictions, students have been playing video games and binge watching shows and movies more than ever. 

According to a New York Times article,  screen time has doubled during quarantine. 

The New York Times article stated, “The concern is not just over the habits of teens and tweens. Legions of children under 10 are giving countless hours to games like Fortnite, and apps like TikTok and Snapchat, An app called Roblox, particularly popular among children ages 9 to 12 in the United States, averaged 31.1 million users a day during the first nine months of 2020, an increase of 82 percent over the year before.”

The increase may seem like a lot but when many students aren’t able to go outside, a lot of that time was changed to activities on a device.  

Freshman Jake Hamadon said he has made several friends by playing video games online. 

Video games help improve my mental health since I personally struggle with stress and failure and having a video game there to play helps me unwind and relax, ”

— Jake Hamadon

“Video games help improve my mental health since I personally struggle with stress and failure and having a video game there to play helps me unwind and relax,” Hamadon said. 

Video games are a big part of the screen time increase, but some students are still doing school virtually. They spend the majority of their day looking at a screen whether it be for homework, going to class, or requesting help for classes. 

Sabine Kong is a freshman that is currently doing school online.

“You have to be looking at it for most of the time, it can be bad when you start getting physical side effects, strained eyes starting to get tired,” Kong said.  “Moderation is a key factor in determining if the screen time you’re taking is good or not.” 

Brian Grantham, the director of education technology, does a presentation to parents called Iparent, which he talks about screen time.

“I think the major concern parents have is the length of time that a child is on doing something, of course the parent doesn’t know what a child is doing but they know that the child is on the device doing something,” Grantham said

Even if parents should not be giving a set time limit to what students can do, students should still be self-aware of the time they spend on screens.. 

I know that the amount of time I spend looking at a screen has increased and has even  replaced the time I would have spent doing things outside. Spending more time online was better for me, because I was able to do things I enjoyed by myself or with other people.