How screen time affects you

In many ways, technology made our everyday life easier. Thanks to the internet, we can see so much more of the world, and events in recent years have forced us to spend a lot of time on our devices. However, despite the apparent benefits, we can't help but think about the wrong side of increased screen time on our health. Concerns about development issues in children are growing because they spend on average 6 to 8 hours behind a computer screen. 


There has been a significant amount of research that show many different ways that screen time negatively affects us:


  • Screen time impacts your general health - working on the computer, sitting down to watch a tv show, playing games are all activities that require us to either sit or lie down. Too much inactivity could lead to your general health deteriorating, which can cause more severe problems. We need to be more active in our daily life for our bodies to function properly (1). Something like house cleaning, a walk in the park, or yoga could work as a suitable replacement for screen time.
  • It can affect your mood - Studies have shown a strong link between spending a lot of time behind a screen and depression (2). The most vulnerable target group is young adults who spend more than 4 hours a day behind a computer or a phone screen. Even in children (3), excessive time playing games or watching the television is connected to bad emotional regulation, mood swings, troubles in self-control, and inability to finish tasks. One of the most problematic areas is disturbed sleep cycles. We tend to spend a lot of hours on the screen at night where the emitting light can affect the melatonin secretion and ruin our sleep patterns, leading to anxiety, depression, and lack of energy to function daily.
  • Screen time lovers your self-esteem (4) - Growing trends of lifestyle and beauty channels that are perceived as picture-perfect could lead to self-confidence issues not only in teenagers but adults as well.
  • Put you at an increased risk of metabolic diseases (5) - Studies that examined teens and screen time showed that they are more likely to develop obesity and type 2 diabetes from spending too much time on their screens, primarily due to a sedentary lifestyle.


To prevent this and minimize screen time damage, we have to change our habits. A slight improvement in any of the following areas in your life could make your body more immune to adverse screen effects:


  1. Move more - Find a fun activity to do outside that doesn’t require your phone. Benefits to your general health are enormous (6). For example, you could experience some mood improvements and social benefits from joining a yoga class, a running team, or a gym.
  2. Change your bedtime routine - if you need to wind down before bed to relax, you could switch to a book instead of watching TV. Also, when you wake up, you should dedicate some time that does not include checking your phone. The second thing would be to take time for yourself. You can try journaling or mindfulness techniques to center you in the present moment and bring some peace and clarity. Last but not least, a good sleeping schedule is critical. Having a routine could help you in the long run.
  3. Spend more time in nature - Colors in nature are delightful for the eyes, and we all know how good a walk in the sun is, especially in this winter period.
  4. Nurture your relationships - There are many ways to enjoy group activities outside or inside without devices. For example, you could join a cooking class, go to yoga sessions, or have musical nights with friends and family.
  5. Change your eating habits - We've all been guilty of watching a tv show during meals. This is one small habit that you can change to benefit your health.

These are the areas in our lives that you could adjust to see benefits like more energy and motivation. Luckily, they can all be fun so that it won't seem like an effort at all!

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