Do you reach for your phone first thing in the morning after you wake up? Or scroll endlessly on social media at night, until your eyes start to shut? Then read on!
High screen time refers to the excessive time spent on electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, tablets, and televisions. While what constitutes high screen time varies depending on your age, individual needs, sleep habits, and lifestyle it can have several harmful effects on your health, including:
Vision problems: Staring at screens for extended periods can cause eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches
Sleep disturbance: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your sleep and circadian rhythm, leading to sleep disturbances and insomnia
Poor posture: Extended periods sitting in front of screens can cause poor posture, leading to back, neck, and shoulder pain
Mental health: High screen time has been linked to various mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and social isolation
Physical health: Too much time sitting in front of a screen can also lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which is associated with several health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
Addiction: Screen time can be addictive, leading to excessive use and dependence, which can interfere with your daily activities, relationships, and overall well-being
It's essential to balance screen time with other activities and adopt healthy habits such as regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks from screens to reduce the harmful effects of high screen time on your health.
Practical ways to reduce screen time:
Reducing screen time can be challenging in today's digital age, but it is important for our physical and mental health. Here are some tips that may help you reduce your screen time habit:
Set goals: Determine how much screen time you want to have in a day and then set specific reduction goals for yourself
Create boundaries: Set limits on when and where you use screens. For example, avoid screens during meals, before bed, or when spending time with friends and family. The easiest way to do this is by making sure that your phone is either switched off or put away in another room
Replace screen time with other activities: Find alternative activities that you enjoy, such as reading, exercising, or spending time outdoors
Use technology to your advantage: Some apps can help you limit your screen time, track your usage, or provide reminders to take breaks
Be mindful of your screen time: Try to be present and engaged when using screens, rather than mindlessly scrolling or browsing
Reducing screen time is a gradual process and it may take time to develop this new habit. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress along the way.