Guest Blogger: Charles Allen
Screens – in our modern world, it’s very hard to escape them. Whether as part of your job, or just during leisure time, human culture has evolved to become heavily reliant on phone, tablet, television, and computer screens. One recent study even went as far as to find that 50% of respondents looked at screens for 11 hours or more per day. Yes, it’s safe to say that they have a huge impact on our daily lives.
And while it’s unquestionable that technology has ultimately done a lot of good for society, it would also be naive to overlook the potential impact that these habits are having on our wider health. Whether it’s through physical joint pain, or an adverse affect on our brains, over-reliance on smart devices and other forms of media can be detrimental.
In this short guide, we’re going to assess three of the biggest ways in which excess screen time could be having a negative impact on your mind, body, and soul.
Issues with Physical Health
While it may not feel like it, gawping at a screen all day is a physical activity. Whether as a result of slouching, the strain being put on your eyes, or even just through sedentary behaviour, screen usage has the ability to greatly impact your wider health.
As a result, someone who relies heavily on consuming media in this way may find themselves with:
- Muscle and joint pains
- Bad body posture
- Sudden weight gain
- Worse or weakened vision
Poor vision in particular is an increasingly prevalent byproduct of our reliance on digital platforms, with reports suggesting nearsightedness in the US alone has increased from 25% to 41.6% in the last 30 years.
Sleep troubles and insomnia
Falling asleep is easier for some than others – and it can be made even more challenging if you spend the remaining few hours before bed sitting up on your phone. Blue light from phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions has the potential to suppress the development of melatonin, which is what helps us feel sleepy.
This can be particularly bad for younger kids, who need 9-11 hours of sleep per night for healthy growth. Try to encourage them not to use phones overnight, and to set strict hours for when they can or can’t be on their devices.
Depression and anxiety
While the adverse effects of poor physical and sleep issues are troubling enough in and of themselves, they also heighten the risk of developing underlying mental health issues. What’s more, the added pressures placed on us by social media platforms can trigger unhealthy comparisons between your own lifestyle and that of your contacts.
Addiction to social channels, and the internet as a whole, is also more prevalent in the digital age. This can leave us feeling reticent, and may result in us pulling away from friends and family. It’s important to remember to put the phone down when it all gets a bit too much.
Remember, screens aren’t inherently bad. Just as with everything in life, all things need to be undertaken in moderation. Make sure to limit you and your family’s screen time, and take regular breaks from your computer or phone.