Technology has undoubtedly changed the way we live, work, and communicate. While technology has made our lives more convenient and connected, it has also brought about concerns about its impact on mental and physical health, particularly with the rise of screen time. In this article, we’ll explore the impact of technology and screen time on mental and physical health.
The rise of technology and screen time has led to concerns about its impact on mental health, particularly in young people. A growing body of research has linked excessive screen time to a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
One reason for this is that excessive screen time can lead to social isolation and loneliness. Social media, in particular, has been linked to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Studies have shown that people who spend more time on social media are more likely to experience feelings of depression and anxiety.
Another reason for the negative impact of screen time on mental health is that it can disrupt sleep. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the body’s natural sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This can lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
Excessive screen time has also been linked to a range of physical health problems. One of the most common is obesity. The more time people spend in front of screens, the less time they spend being physically active. This can lead to weight gain, which can increase the risk of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Another physical health issue associated with excessive screen time is eye strain. Staring at screens for extended periods can cause eye fatigue, dryness, and discomfort. This is known as computer vision syndrome and can lead to headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and difficulty focusing.
Sedentary behavior is also a problem associated with excessive screen time. Sedentary behavior is defined as sitting or lying down while expending very little energy. Studies have shown that sedentary behavior is linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
How to Reduce the Negative Impact of Screen Time
Despite the negative impact of screen time on mental and physical health, there are ways to reduce its impact. Here are a few tips:
- Set Limits
Set limits on screen time for both yourself and your children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of screen time per day for children aged two to five and no more than one hour for children aged six and older.
- Take Breaks
Take regular breaks from screens, especially if you’re doing something that requires intense focus. Get up and stretch, take a walk, or do some other physical activity.
- Use Blue Light Filters
Use blue light filters on your devices or wear blue light blocking glasses to reduce the impact of blue light on your sleep.
- Be Mindful of Social Media Use
Be mindful of your social media use and how it affects your mental health. Consider taking breaks from social media or limiting your use to certain times of the day.
- Encourage Physical Activity
Encourage physical activity and outdoor play, especially for children. Make physical activity a part of your daily routine.
In conclusion, while technology has brought about many benefits, excessive screen time can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. It is important to be mindful of our screen time and take steps to reduce its impact. By setting limits, taking breaks, using blue light filters, being mindful of social media use, and encouraging physical activity, we can reduce the negative impact of screen time on our health.
About The Author
Dr. Leo is a highly-qualified and dedicated primary care physician who graduated from Manila Central University College of Medicine in 2018. He passed the Physician Licensure Exam in 2019, and has since gained valuable experience practicing in various settings such as being a company physician, doctor-on-duty for outpatient clinics, and a telemedicine practitioner.
What sets Dr. Leo apart is his dual-certification as both a physician and a registered nurse, having passed the Philippine Nurse Licensure exam in 2012. He has a unique perspective on healthcare as he believes in taking a holistic approach addressing the root cause of an issue rather than just treating symptoms. He is dedicated to finding long-term solutions for current disorders and preventing new ones.