Why is it Important to Manage Your Screen Time?
Many of us are glued to our screens for work, entertainment or organising our lives and can barely imagine life without them! But guest writer, Lily, shows how too much screen time can have a negative impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing, and suggests how to achieve a healthy balance.
Photo by Greta Hoffman, Pexels
It’s the age of technology, where screens dominate almost every aspect of our lives. We can do almost anything online these days, and with such a wealth of information at our fingertips, it can be hard to switch off. But despite many scientific studies showing that screen time is not good for our wellbeing, how much do you know about the specific effects of excessive screen time? Here we shine a light on how being plugged in can impact our lives, and why it’s important to responsibly manage your screen time.
Increased risk of health issues
Physically, screens encourage us to maintain poor posture. Whether we’re hunched over a desk in front of a computer screen or looking down to text for prolonged periods of time, our joints can suffer. Symptoms such as having a stiff neck, pain and soreness in the thumbs and fingers, as well as headaches and backaches, can all result from overuse of screens. Our eyes can also become strained, with many people reporting dry, irritated eyes and even damage to their eyesight when consistently using a screen for many hours at a time.
There is evidence to suggest that overusing screens can also be detrimental to our emotional health too, causing us to become irritable, moody and be more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
To negate the effects of screen time on your health, look to set a balance between time spent on and off screens. For example, leaving your phone at home whilst you take a walk during your lunch break may help you to stretch your muscles and refresh your mind, and you are likely to find yourself in a better mood when you return to studying or work.
Overusing screens can have a detrimental effect on our brains, even causing brain atrophy in severe cases. This is where the brain tissue wastes away and shrinks, which is a troublesome thought. During the pubescent years to the early twenties, the frontal lobe of our brains is developing emotional processing, problem-solving and social interaction skills. Excessive screen time can threaten these vital processes and research suggests it may leave us with lessened cognitive control and increased symptoms of dysfunction.
You may find it helpful to have no-screen zones in your home, such as the bedroom for example, as research shows that the blue light emitted from screens can negatively affect sleeping patterns and cause insomnia.
Whilst you may consider some of your screen time productive, many people waste hours each day mindlessly scrolling through endless streams of content. The addictive cycle of instant gratification that screens can provide, can cause us to become less productive with our studies and professional pursuits, leaving us fatigued and with little motivation to do something meaningful or useful. To combat this, try to consciously manage the time you spend looking at screens and set yourself limits to avoid wasting hours of your day. Restricting notifications to only important information alerts, can help you keep focused.
Make a conscious effort
Whilst it’s easy to spend hours staring at such easily accessible information via a screen, making a conscious effort to step away for a decent amount of time each day can bring substantial benefits to your emotional and physical wellbeing.
About the Author
After studying psychology and becoming a teacher herself, Lily now enjoys helping people understand the impact of technology and the effects it can have on our brains and psyche.
Find out more:
Digital Overload can Change our Brains
A leading neuroscientist explains how the rise of the digital culture is compromising our Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
A Digital Detox is Good for the Soul
Being connected is great, but an occasional digital detox is important for emotional wellbeing
Tricks to Kick the Tech Habit (Temporarily!)
Tell-tale signs that you need a digital detox, plus tips to kick the tech habit (temporarily!)