All of these complaints are true and are relatable to excessive screen time. Too much screen time isn’t good for physical and mental health.
It affects our health in different ways, and this article highlights all you need to know about the consequences of excessive screen time.
Too much screen time is bad for mental health
Passive screen time artificially induces the secretion of neurotransmitters. An excess of serotonin in the body may provide temporary pleasures but results in long-term mental sickness. When secreted in abundance, it results in hormonal imbalance.
According to research, smartphones significantly contributes to the brain’s dysfunctioning and the prevalence of depression.
Smartphones are more addictive than phones due to their exclusive features. These handy gadgets have everything within them, such as movies, songs, video games, and other social networking sites.
The majority of people spend their time alone with these gadgets and deprive themselves of natural serenity. It also affects sleep quality and quantity. An adequate amount of sleep is essential for healthy and positive behaviors .
Depression is an alarming mental illness prevalent in individuals of all ages. Mostly it’s characterized by a lifestyle and activities that require low energy expenditure. Couch potatoes spend most of their free time in front of the TV and get obese. An association is present between obesity, depression, and screen time .
Screen time and hormonal imbalance
Watching movies or your favorite season on Netflix for hours is a kind of passive entertainment.
The neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, are responsible for the sense of relief and joy. Extra secretion of these hormones makes their receptors over-sensitive to their production such that they no longer provide satisfaction.
Serotonin keeps you high, but at the same time, it increases the levels of social anxiety. The levels of self-confidence and social interactions are negatively affected by such passive entertainment.
Vision and posture defects due to excessive screen time
Screen time isn’t necessarily for leisure activities. It’s essential for office, college, and work from home assignments. But, most of the time, healthy individuals end up having computer vision syndrome.
Working on a screen requires more effort to retain focus and work effectively. The gaze shifts from images on-screen to paper or sometimes from one tab to another. The eye muscles move effectively and signal the brain about the information received from images on the screen.
This rapid movement results in various eye defects such as:
- Myopia: The idea of myopia being a genetic disease has been outdated due to recent discoveries that suggest its other causes. These causes include excessive book reading or screen time .
- Eye fatigue: When eyes stay glued to the computer, the muscles get stretched and causes headache, blurred vision, or loss of flexibility.
- Dryness of eye: The eyes get dry when moved quickly, and the gaze shifts from one object on the screen to another. The dryness can harm the vision and irritates.
Similarly, sitting in the same posture for long hours can increase the risk of muscular injuries. Too much screen time puts your neck, spine, or ligaments in a lousy position that hurts later.
The levator scap is a superficial layer of back muscles that keeps the shoulder blades in the position .
It also keeps the head and neck aligned. Bending forward over the computer screen stretches the scapular muscles surrounding the head, neck, and back. Long-term stretching of these muscles makes the muscles taut.
Too much screen time and health disorders
Advanced apps and video games keep everyone engaged with themselves and satisfied. But the prolonged addiction to these advancements results in devastating health issues.
These health issues include:
- Cardiovascular disorders
Low levels of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle are the major contributing factors to obesity.
People who love to watch movies or their favorite shows on TV are used to eating food and beverages that provide incomplete nutrition. These foods offer empty calories that increase weight and such related issues.
Other than that, lesser hours of sleep due to late-night screen time can also cause weight gain .
Children who spend more time in front of the screen are more likely to get obese and develop resistance against insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and is responsible for the regulation of blood pressure. This trend has given rise to type 2 diabetes .
Cardiovascular disorders and cancer
Watching TV in spare time can potentially cause CVD, cancer, or other such diseases in persons with low levels of physical activity or fitness concerns . It may occur due to the increase in weight that results in high levels of cholesterols and blood pressure. The increased cholesterol blocks the passage of blood and may cause heart stroke or related heart diseases.
Tips to overcome the addiction of screen time
Addiction destroys everything in its path, and it has the power to demolish every healthy boundary.
Addictive habits are easy to pursue but require a lot of effort and motivation to get out of them. Here are some tips and tricks that can help you overcome or minimize your screen time to a safer level.
- Being a parent, keep an eye on your kids and their gadgets. Set a limit for them and turn off the internet connection or TV after that particular time limit.
- Don’t use or allow using cellular phones at the dining table.
- Keep your phones away at bedtime and try putting them on silent.
- Remove your computer or TV from bedrooms and fix them in the launch. So you can’t turn them on while others are sleeping at night. It will also help to keep your kids safe from watching illicit content.
- A social media detox is the best mental health therapy you can gift yourself.
- Put a user limit on your favorite apps or turn off notifications for those unnecessary apps that distract you from work.
- Replace reading on-screen with a book. Only read from online resources that are not available in the form of hard copy.
- Maintain healthy postures while using mobile phones or watching screens. Change your posture after some time to avoid over-stretching.
Consistency is the key!
You can’t have all of it at once, so keep trying until you are good at controlling your urge to spend more time on screen. And try to use technology for developing good habits.