3 Shocking Reasons Why You Should Reduce Your Screen Time13 Feb, 20231-2 minutes
According to DataReportal, British people spend an average of 6 hours and 12 minutes a day looking at a digital screen.
If you’re permanently glued to a screen, whether it be a work or personal device, this can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.
There are many reasons why screen time should be limited, but we have looked into three that could have the worst consequences on daily life.
It can negatively impact physical and mental health
If you’re suffering with a bad neck or back, you might assume this is the result of sleeping uncomfortably. However, this could be down to the bad posture you have developed whilst looking at a screen.
To minimise the risk of permanent damage, it’s important to position screens at eye level. If you use a laptop for work, your employer should provide you with a stand for this to be placed on.
A bad back isn’t the only physical consequence of too much screen time, frequent headaches, dry eyes and blurred vision can also occur as a result of eye fatigue.
An increased chance of obesity could also occur as a result of too much screen time. It’s important that staring at a screen doesn’t take priority over staying fit and getting outdoors!
Too much screen time can also be a risk to mental health and has been linked to depression and anxiety. According to a study by the University of Leeds, 28% of British adults say that screen time has negatively impacted their mental health, with symptoms including feeling less motivated, losing attention span, experiencing mood swings and reclusiveness. The University also found many people simply have no choice about how much time they spend in front of a screen because of the nature of their job.
There are no formal guidelines surrounding daily leisure or educational use of screens, however, current government policy classes screen use as a workplace concern where it falls under Health and Safety Executive regulations, though this is only to a limited degree.
The lack of official guidance doesn’t help to separate work and home life so it’s important for the user to set their own boundaries.
It can cause sleep deprivation
Have you ever spent the evening scrolling through your phone and then struggled to nod off?
This is because the blue light emitted by digital screens can hinder the production of the body's sleep hormone, melatonin, and over stimulate the brain.
It’s suggested that two or more hours of looking at digital devices in the evening can be seriously disruptive to sleep patterns.
To get a better night’s sleep, try to resist the urge to check your devices for at least an hour before you’re planning on going to sleep.
It impairs our ability to socialise
You might not be able to reduce screen time at work but you can choose to spend more of your personal time away from phones, tablets and laptops.
If you’re constantly preoccupied with what’s going on in the digital world, it could lead to you feeling withdrawn from real life.
This can negatively impact your ability to process social cues, register emotions and maintain real world relationships.
Loneliness can also be a negative result of too much screen time and withdrawing from the real world. In extreme cases, feeling lonely has been linked to anxiety, depression and even death.
Instead of using social media to stay connected, why not arrange to meet a friend or go for a brisk walk? Being preoccupied will help you to reduce your screen time and help you feel more connected to loved ones and nature.
It’s important to remember that you’re in control of your screen time, not the other way around. If you are struggling to switch off, try turning your notifications off to avoid temptation or setting aside screen free hours that you can spend more wisely!
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