Screen time affects the way we think, feel, and behave. Many people are addicted to their screens. We spend more time interacting with our devices than we do with each other. And we can’t even look away from our phones while walking or driving. As a result, our physical and emotional well-being is impacted. Many studies are being conducted to understand the effects of screen time on mental health. And while this is a complex issue, the benefits of a balanced lifestyle are well worth it.
Six Ways How Screen Time Affects Mental Health
Screen time is bad for your mental health. Studies show that the more screen time we get, the worse our mood will become. According to the Pew Survey, 28 percent of American adults spend at least part of their day online, up from 21 percent in 2015. Nearly half of young adults say they go online constantly. Sadly, too much screen time isn’t the only culprit. Here are six ways screen time affects our mental health.
It Can Make Us Addicted
The first way screen time affects our mental health is that we become addicted to it. Screen time lowers our impulse control, lowers our curiosity, and messes up our attention span. We may also find that we have difficulty making friends and performing tasks because we are constantly surrounded by screens. In addition to lowering our mental health, too much screen time causes physical problems. In addition to back pain and hearing loss, excessive screen time also decreases our attention span and makes us feel drowsy and anxious.
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Too Much Screen Time Can Cause Depression
High-screen users were more likely to have depression and attention deficit disorders than those who use fewer screens. They were also more likely to lose their temper and not bounce back from excitement. Moderate screen users were more likely to experience social isolation and be diagnosed with a mental illness. And finally, they were more likely to take medication for their mental health problems. There’s a lot more to this issue. Keep reading to learn more about the ways that screen time affects mental health.
It Can Negatively Impact Psychological Well-Being
The current research shows that screen time negatively impacts psychological well-being among children and adolescents. It impacts children’s self-control, relationships with caregivers, emotional stability, and even mental health diagnoses and treatment. The association between screen time and well-being has clinical implications for children and may require guidelines for older adolescents. So, be smart when choosing the type of screen time for your child. You’ll be glad you did!
Easy Ways To Reduce Screen Time
Cutting down on unnecessary screen time is important to improve both mental and physical health. It may be difficult to cut down on screen time altogether, but there are ways to reduce it without sacrificing your lifestyle or your health. These easy ways to reduce screen time include making small changes such as keeping your phone out of sight during mealtimes and designing tech-free zones. Keeping your phone out of sight will help you avoid distracting activities like watching TV or surfing the internet.
Although technology is a part of our lives, it is a powerful enabler – as long as it is used in moderation. Overexposure to screen time can impact your, behavior, and parent-child interaction as well as can cause weird dreams. To combat the negative effects of screen time, you can introduce alternative activities such as touchy-feely books or sound-making toys. By introducing alternative activities to your child’s routine, you can help them become more aware of the importance of physical activity and interaction.
Designating Tech-Free Zones
One simple way to limit screen time is to designate designated tech-free zones in the house. Designate specific rooms, such as the dining room or the bedroom, as tech-free areas. These rooms may have strict rules, such as no screens after nine p.m., but they should still be welcoming and fun. For example, you can install a tech-free clock in the living room or bathroom, or set up an area free from any electronic gadgets.
Limiting Screen Time On Social Media Apps
One way to limit screen time on social media apps is to set a daily or weekly time limit on the apps you use. By setting a time limit, you’re likely to minimize your time spent on social media, as long as you stick to it. This may seem difficult at first, but the results are compelling. One recent study showed that the time limit helped users reduce their social media usage by 17%. Using the time limit will allow you to keep a check on your usage and ensure you’re not overindulging.
Tracking Screen Time
It’s easy to become hooked on your electronic device. But if you’re not careful, you’ll spend more time looking at the screen than you need to. To help you keep yourself accountable, track how long you spend on your phone or tablet. If you’re an avid social media user, you may find that you’re spending extra hours on your devices. Scroll through social media while on your lunch break. Or watch TV while cooking or eating before bedtime. You may even catch up on news or sports while relaxing.
Setting Limits On Your Phone
Trying to reduce screen time can be hard, but there are a few things you can do to limit your usage. Try installing a screen time management app for your phone. This can act like a parent’s nanny, letting you know how much time you spend in front of the screen. The app will also help you recognize time-sinks on your phone and enforce rules for yourself. If you’re a chronic screen addict, it’s time to consider setting limits for your usage.
One study found that teens who spend more time glued to their screens were significantly more likely to develop depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses. This correlation is not simple, but it is clear. While we spend more time interacting with our devices than ever before, the fact that screen time reduces social interactions is a clear indication that more screen time is not healthy. And while the amount of time spent on screens is important, the content of these devices is even more harmful. Teenagers may see photos of airbrushed models and see pictures of friends having fun but not them. This may cause them to view their own lives as unattractive. Also, because bullying has changed considerably since our parents were kids, the prevalence of cyberbullying among teens is much higher today.
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