How many hours do you spend on your phone on an average day? Or watching TV? The answer might vary, depending on factors like your age, what you do, your interests, and much more. But one thing is certain – people spend more time on their phones now than they did 20 years ago.
The emergence of smartphones and the explosion of visual content has led to an increase in the hours someone spends looking at screens, either on a phone, monitor, or television. It is not uncommon to find people these days who spend an average of 12 hours per day looking at screens. This means half of their day is spent looking at screens. How ideal is this?
While there is a lot people can do on their phones these days, spending a lot of time looking at your phone or television screen is not good for your health. It has adverse health effects, some of which may take time to manifest.
In today’s article, we will be looking at some health effects of too much screen time.
1. Digital Eye Strain
One of the common effects of extended screen time is digital eye strain. This is a condition that causes discomfort, fatigue, and blurred vision after using a screen for an extended period.
The blue light emitted by screens is believed to be the primary cause of digital eye strain. Blue light can disrupt our sleep patterns, leading to headaches, fatigue, and eye strain. To prevent digital eye strain, you can use a blue light filter or take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.
2. Poor Posture
Sitting for extended periods in front of a screen can cause strain on the neck, shoulders, and back muscles, leading to musculoskeletal pain.
The problem is more prevalent among people who use laptops and smartphones as they tend to hunch over the screens. To avoid poor posture, you should take frequent breaks, stretch your muscles, and sit in a comfortable position with proper back support.
3. Sleep Disturbances
Exposure to blue light from screens can disrupt our sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.
The blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. To prevent sleep disturbances, you should limit your screen time before bed, avoid using screens in the bedroom, and use a blue light filter.
Excessive screen time, especially among children and teenagers, can lead to obesity. According to studies, children who spend more than two hours a day in front of screens are more likely to be overweight or obese.
The sedentary nature of screen time can lead to decreased physical activity, and exposure to advertisements of unhealthy food can lead to poor eating habits. Parents should limit their children’s screen time and encourage them to engage in physical activities.
5. Poor Mental Health
Excessive screen time has been linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, and social isolation. Social media and online gaming can lead to addictive behaviors and a fear of missing out (FOMO), which can have a negative impact on mental health.
To improve mental health outcomes, you should limit your screen time and engage in activities that promote social interaction and physical activity.
6. Affects Social Skills
Your social life is an essential aspect of your overall health and well-being. It plays a vital role in our mental and physical health, as well as our overall quality of life.
However, too much screen time can negatively impact our social lives. Spending too much time on electronic devices can reduce face-to-face social interactions, leading to a lack of social skills and increased feelings of loneliness.
7. Raises Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Prolonged screen time has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and heart disease. This is because spending too much time sitting and being inactive can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and other risk factors that contribute to heart disease.
According to studies, individuals who spend more than four hours a day sitting while watching television or using electronic devices have a higher risk of developing heart disease than those who spend less than two hours a day sitting.
Excessive screen time has become a growing concern in recent years, with studies indicating negative impacts on individuals’ physical and mental health. From the above health effects of too much screen time above, you might consider drastically reducing the amount of time in front of your screen.
8. Reduces Physical Activity
Spending too much time on screens can limit physical activity and time spent outside, leading to a sedentary lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this habit can have negative consequences on our physical health. Limited physical activity can lead to weight gain, poor circulation, and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
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