HealthCare

How Can Excessive Screen Time Affect Your Health and Well-Being?

  • 19 Jan 2022

Excessive screen time has become a serious concern among people with the advent of digitization and the advancement of digital technology. This has pushed researchers, practitioners, and society, on the whole, to focus on digital well-being.

With the enforcement of public measures to curb the pandemic, screen time has further increased among people. Societies were under lockdown, and going digital was the only way to stay connected. In this blog, we attempt to understand social connectedness via screens, the negative consequences of excessive screen time, and suggest strategies to maintain healthy use of digital technology. The suggestions for negative implications of screen time on well-being warrant a strict need for instilling healthy digital habits, knowing that screens are here to stay and grow with time.

Negative Outcomes On Health Due to Increased Screen Time

There have been many correlations between more time spent in front of a device and worse mental health outcomes. 

  • For instance, studies have found that grown-ups who spent six or more hours on screens had a higher risk for depression
  • And among teenagers, those who used screen time of 7 or more hours in a day were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety
  • Also, moderate screen users who spent about four hours in front of devices indicated lower psychological health.

Influencing our mental health isn't the only effect screens might have on our well-being. It also concerns that staring at screens might impact our sleep.

  • The use of screens so close to bedtime is likely a problem because it keeps your mind active, signals to your body that you should stay awake.
  • An increase in screen time can make it hard for you to sleep at night. This applies to both children and adults. 
  • This can be the reason behind the rise in children's risk for attention problems, anxiety, and depression. 
  • An increase in screen time can also be why you are gaining too much weight.

Conscious Practices to Reduce Screen Time

Given the pandemic situation, it might be hard to cut down your screen time. If this is the case, practice a few methods that concentrate less on time limits and more on being conscious of technology usage. Instead of implementing a time-bound mark, all screen users should practice being more aware of their behaviors. How, you ask? Here are a few ways:

  • Watch for media distraction. Don't be taken away by appealing content on screen. Before you know it, you would have spent an ample amount of time on screen.
  • If you often find yourself distracted during a conversation with someone, consider limiting your screen time and occasionally leaving your phone in another room/space. 
  • Likewise, as already mentioned earlier, banning screens before bed could improve your sleep.

Of course, we understand that it's not always easy to reduce phone usage, but the facts and evidence suggest that it's a beneficial effort. According to a study, limiting social media use to 30 minutes daily can significantly decrease anxiety and fear of missing out and improvements in general well-being.

Tips to Reduce Screen Time

Here are a few tips you could make use of to reduce your online time:

  • Turning off notifications. Notifications trigger a person to look at the screen and spend additional time beyond checking the notification.
  • Setting timer. Use a timer on your phone or an old-fashioned timer when using a screen (phone/tablet/TV/computer). Turn off the timer and device when it goes off and try to move your body (either by going for a walk, cleaning the room, or working out).
  • Stay away from the phone. Many people are victims of scrolling their phones in bed before sleep or when they first wake up in the morning. This can interfere with your sleep and significantly add to your daily screen time. Use an alarm clock to wake up in the morning and leave your phone outside the bedroom every night.

It is recommended to consult a health care provider if you have concerns about excessive screen time with negative outcomes on health, such as: 

  • eye strain
  • back issues
  • body pain 
  • symptoms of depression 
  • depleting mental well-being

Project Global Cure is working towards the betterment and transformation of the health sector of India. We strive to spread health awareness among the people and warn you of any implications that affect your health

Take time to read our other blogs and stay tuned for more blogs - everything related to health, from experts on Project Global Cure.

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