It is undeniable that technology has advanced in the last few decades. While it has made our life easier, it also comes with its own set of negatives. Today, an average person has access to several electronic devices, like a computer, tablet, smartphone, etc., and generally devotes a lot of time to them. Addiction to these devices is no surprise. However, what is absurd is that most people who spend hours of their productive time on screen are unaware of the damage it can cause to their health. Several researchers have proven that excessive use of screen time can lead to long-term medical issues, and hence it is high time we take this issue seriously.
A lockdown situation has made many of us addicted to our smartphones. In this article, we discuss the most prevalent health issues that are caused due to excessive screen time.
The smartphone is a boon in today’s world but clearly a health bane. The health issues arising out of too much smartphone usage are highlighted here.
Hazards Of Too Much Screen Time:
Whether or not you are addicted to your smartphone, it is up to you to decide. But understanding and accepting that addiction can give rise to several health issues is quite crucial. Below are some of the major harmful health effects of too much screen time:
It is proven in studies that too much screen time can lead to visual impairment among people having a common issue called “computer vision syndrome.” It has symptoms such as headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, etc., which might indicate excessive screen time. If a person does not get alert at this stage, it can lead to permanent vision issues.
In children, it is proved that if they are exposed to too much screen time, especially cartoons or games depicting violence, they become insensitive to it, which alters their behavior and personality in the long run. Children also tend to copy the violence they have seen in such movies to solve their everyday problems. Also, adults tend to get more aggressive in general as they begin to lose their patience level with too much screen time.
Spending a lot of time in front of a screen leads to gaining weight as one tends to follow an unhealthy lifestyle that leads to fatigue. This inactivity increases obesity, and it replaces any daily exercise activity that a person may be doing otherwise. More than any decade, people are obese now, and it is thanks to technological advancements.
Loss Of Cognitive Ability:
Cognition means the ability to take in knowledge. Too much screen time alters the way you think by actually shrinking the grey matter in the brain, which is directly linked with cognition. The deformity is also seen in the white matter, which acts as a network to the brain’s signal. All this results in lower impulse and difficulty in concentration in general. Reread this and let it sink in. Are you willing to take a risk as big as this? Hiding behind a gadget can close your mind to people interaction and new knowledge.
The sleep hormone Melatonin is badly affected by too much screen time as the blue light which is released from the screen disturbs the flow of this hormone and can lead to insomnia-related issues. Your body needs adequate sleep time, and by cutting that time, you force your body to stretch beyond its capacity. You must’ve noticed that using screen time right before going to bed makes it even harder to sleep. Physical book reading can be used as an alternative here to sleep before bedtime. The luxury of going to bed reading a book in our hands, away from any screens, is something we all can enjoy. However, you need to form this habit while breaking the screen habit.
Delay In Learning Abilities Among Children:
If you think that the learning a child acquires by watching videos on screen is more than what he/she will acquire in reading books or playing in the sand or outdoors, then please reconsider this opinion. When it comes to young children, too much screen time can alter their impact on learning and also create a delay in acquiring linguistic skills. Children learn faster physically and by exploring with trial-and-error methods.
More Likeliness To Chronic Health Conditions:
The increased risk of screen time leading to obesity also results in various health problems linked to type 2 diabetes, cancer, and various heart-related diseases. There have been clear indications of the spike to blood glucose levels and accumulation of fat in the bloodstream due to continuous screen watching.
It cannot be denied that digital devices have now become an indispensable part of our everyday lives and to get rid of them is just not possible. Technology has reached a stage where our psychological data is being analyzed to keep us glued to screens and increasing the watch time a person spends daily.
After leveraging the harmful effects of too much use of these devices, we need to immediately make a lifestyle change by limiting the length of screen time. We all know that addiction to anything is harmful, and too much screen time is one of the easily addictive things out there. Especially in these pandemic times when our movements are restricted, addiction to a smartphone is obvious. But consider this – the lesser time spent on these digital devices allows you to utilize the same with your family and loved ones. So why not concentrate some more on making real memories instead of wasting time in virtual activities that are just waiting to destroy your precious time.
Let’s make a promise to ourselves today.
“I will not watch my phone the first thing in the morning and the last thing before going to bed. I will restrict my use of a smartphone to essential work only. I will play games with my kids, not the virtual ones, and enjoy quality time with my family. I will use the time to exercise and plan my meals.”