Categories: General Health

Limit Your Screen Time

The invention of the phone and the computer is one of the most radical things which has ever happened to humans. They have made our life easy. From entertainment to learning, phones and computers are providing us with everything. But like every other technology, they also have their own set of drawbacks. One such drawback is our ever-increasing dependency on these devices. Nowadays, even toddlers and children are addicted to phones and tablets, leading to increased screen time.

Let’s first try to understand the term screen time.

The time spent watching TV, videos, playing games and operating a computer, phone, tablets, and various screen-based devices, is called screen time.

These gadgets have become an integral part of our life. Without any doubt, these technologies have made our work easier. Now the location restriction is out of proposition for any work due to evolution of phone, internet, and computers.

Nobody can argue that cell phones, computers, tablets, TV, and the internet made our day-to-day work easy. We can communicate with friends and family with just one click.

Are we becoming too dependent on phones and computers?

Though these devices have made our lives easier, these devices also harm our health and personality behavior.

To properly understand the dependency of these devices, we need to ask ourselves if we can spend an entire day without them. For some people, it is impossible to spend even one hour without a phone, laptop, or internet not working. It shows how these devices can control our lives.

Therefore, it is true that we are too dependent on smartphones and other gadgets.

Inside us, there is an urge to check our mobile phones for texts, emails, social media even when there is no notification. We can feel the sudden rush of adrenaline whenever a notification chimes. It shows how much we are addicted to our phones and other gadgets.

Even kids prefer playing games, watching cartoons or movies in their free time instead of playing outdoor games with friends. Nowadays, online classes have also increased screen time in children.

Effects of excessive screen time

We can spend the whole day on the internet without getting bored. The internet provides us with a wide variety of content. Watching videos and movies, playing various games, exploring new hobbies on the internet, communicating with friends and family are some of the many advantages of these smart devices. But, there are many drawbacks of screen-based devices too:

  • Though our work gets easy with the help of technology and the internet, it has made it difficult for us to keep track of starting and ending of our working hours.
  • Too much dependency on smartphones, laptops, and tablets may develop anxiety in people when not connected to these gadgets.
  • Sleep deprivation is the main side effect of using screens. Light emitted from the screen delays release of the melatonin hormone essential for sleep.
  • In today’s internet-active society, most social interactions and shopping occur online. It leads to decreased physical interaction and socializing.
  • Children who are too involved in screen-based devices may develop less creativity and imagination skills.
  • Night-time use of phones and laptops is more prevalent in the young generation. It may have many adverse physical as well as psychological health effects.
  • Headaches are more often in those who use gadgets continuously.
  • Digital eye strains: Excessive device use may strain our eyes, resulting in eye pain, blurred vision, itching, and eye fatigue
  • Excessive use of phones and tablets may cause neck stiffness and neck pain.
  • Excessive screen time may cause psychological problems like stress, anxiety, social detachment, relationship problems.
  • Many people cannot detach themselves from phones. Some also carry phones, even in washrooms. Using phones in the toilet may also develop health problems. The phone gets exposed to germs, leading to many health hazards.
  • Long-term sitting while watching TV, phone, and laptop may cause obesity and other digestive problems.

How to break device dependency?

Most people check their devices after every 15 minutes or less, even if there are no notifications. Slow and scheduled steps may improve digital dependency.

  • Choose one day in a week and do not use your phones or tablets during that day.
  • Use more intervals in between the checking phones and tablets for notifications.
  • Mute unnecessary notifications for a stress-free mind
  • Set daily usage time limits for social media. It is an effective way to reduce phone usage.
  • To keep yourself away from the screen at night, put your phones and other devices away from the bedroom.
  • If you have to work long on computers, take short intervals between work and do physical activity like stretching and walking.
  • Stop taking phones into toilets. Phones harbor more germs which are harmful to your health.
  • Set the time for children to use the devices. Engage children in other physical activities and encourage them to play outdoors with friends.

Dr. Nidhin Mohan, Consultant – Internal Medicine, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore.

Narayana Health

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