Advancing technology has glued attention to our screens more than ever before.
They’re present in almost every aspect of our lives, from laptops and TVs to our beloved smartphones. We find ourselves hooked on social media, video streaming, and online gaming. While screens have had a significantly positive impact on our lives, the excessive use of screen time is also harming our health.
Increased Gaming Addiction Among Adults
Gaming has come leaps and bounds since the early days of Pac-Man and Space Invaders. However, due to its increasing ease in accessibility and the substantial developments it has experienced in improved gaming design and overall user experience, gaming has become an addictive habit, especially for millennials. Moreover, many will even admit to being addicted but continue playing, as explored further in ExpressVPN’s blog piece, and this trend isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
Gaming can be a fun and easy way to unwind. Still, when behaviors towards gaming become too persistent and attach us to our screens excessively, you can find that negative impacts unfold.
The Physical Effects of Excessive Screen Time
Sitting down glued to a screen for prolonged periods will negatively affect your physical health in various ways. For one thing, the eye strain from staring at a screen for a long time can lead to headaches, blurred vision, and uncomfortably dry eyes. Your posture will become hunched over time, leading to neck and back pain. It is prevalent for office workers slumping over their desks but also familiar to gamers curling up on the sofa with their smartphones.
Lastly, the blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s rest. Your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, gets disrupted by excessive screen use, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
The Mental Health Risks of Excessive Screen Time
As health and wellness brand Healthline explores further, you could also find your mental health suffers from excessive screen time.
One of the most common mental health risks involved is an increased anxiety risk. The constant stimulation and information our screens provide can prove overwhelming for many. Social media, in particular, can drive anxiety through the roof and create negative feelings of inadequacy or fear of missing out. Furthermore, depression can result from excessive screen time due to the likely decrease in physical activity and genuine social interactions.
Strategies for Reducing Screen Time
Our lives have become dependent on our screens, and reducing the time spent with them may be challenging. However, it’s not impossible!
As highlighted by the Mayo Clinic Health System, reducing screen time can positively impact your physical and mental health. You could consider setting screen-time time limits or creating screen-free zones in your home, like your bedroom, where they’re not allowed at all.
In addition, taking regular breaks throughout the day to engage in other activities, like exercise or socializing, is a brilliant idea to help avoid the negative impact of screen addiction.
Lastly, remain mindful of how you’re using your screens. For example, when using social media, maintain a positive mindset towards the content you’re consuming, and don’t compare yourself to others.
The mental and physical toll excessive screen time can have in your everyday life is significant but avoidable. You can actively minimize the negative effects of prolonged screen use. By practicing positive, healthy habits and maintaining a positive mindset to prioritize your health and happiness, you can still enjoy the many wondrous benefits our screens provide, with balance in mind.