More Zoom, Less Sleep? 7 Negative Effects of Screen Time
Has your screen time increased since the pandemic?
A recent report shows that many businesses moved to e-commerce and online platforms for the first time. The pandemic led to the closure of many brick and mortar businesses. To adapt to the new landscape and continue progress, many began using Zoom.
Over 206 companies have begun to use Zoom in the pandemic. Students are also using these online communication platforms to continue their studies. But do you know what the effects of all this extra screen time are?
In this article, we show you the negative effects of screen time. We will also discuss how to combat these effects of too much screen time. Read on to learn more!
- Sleep Deprivation
Your body’s circadian rhythm functions as your body’s natural clock. It uses a hormone called melatonin to help you feel more sleepy as your bedtime approaches. Your brain receives information from your eyes about light from your optic nerves.
When your eyes receive less light, your brain will produce more melatonin. However, too much screen time can affect your sleep patterns. Your brain registers blue light like natural light.
Too much screen time affects people of all ages. However, children are more likely to suffer from the negative effects of screen time. On average, a child needs at least 10 to 12 hours of sleep to develop.
Blue light from phones and other devices will impact your sleep even after they turn them off. All devices, from cellphones to TVs, emit blue light. Your brain interprets this as daylight and prevents your body from feeling sleepy.
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Using any electronic device will usually require you to sit down. Being idle for too long, coupled with ads and junk food, can lead to obesity. Children are often full of energy with a natural inborn need to be active.
However, the increase in modern technology counteracts this need. Sitting hunched for hours will lead to eventual obesity. This, in turn, will lead to various health problems.
Some common health problems associated with obesity include diabetes and heart disease. Your child may also suffer from joint problems.
- Vision Problems
One of the more common effects of screen time includes eye problems. Staring at a screen for too long can cause eye strain. People tend to blink less when staring at their devices.
The blue light and excessive screen moment make it harder for your eyes to focus. Many people forget to distance themselves from their screen, adding more eye strain. These things combined can lead to negative lasting effects.
Too much screen time can lead to eye fatigue, causing headaches and double vision. Your eyes tend to become dry and irritated because you forget to blink. Your eyes become less flexible as you age, making it difficult to see at long distances.
Prolonged exposure to blue light can reach your retina and cause permanent damage. It can lead to macular degeneration. Without treatment, this can turn into a loss of eyesight.If you’re spending a lot of time every day in front of the screen, then you should consider adding to your diet a vision supplement that protects the structure of the eye.
- Body Aches and Pains
Medical professionals developed new terms to describe aches and pains from screen time. Too much screen time can lead to phone neck and text thumb. When texting, we tend to hold our wrists at odd angles.
It can also lead to headaches and neck pain. When children suffer from these aches at a young age, it can get worse as they grow. Other issues include back pain, arthritis, migraines, and repetitive motion syndrome.
- Fewer Social Skills
Spending too much time on your devices can lead to a lack of social skills. Children need to interact with real-life people to develop their social skills. Prolonged device usage limits face-to-face contact with other people.
This can impact future relationships. It can affect your child’s ability to build friendships and relationships. Your child may not even be able to develop basic social etiquette.
- Weak Emotional Judgment
Prolonged screen time can impact your ability to process and register emotions. The internet contains a lot of violent content. It can lead to desensitization and weaken your emotional judgment.
Exposure to violent media can increase aggression. Young children and adolescents are more prone to this.
- Delayed Learning
Excessive screen time can alter your brain structure. This can affect your child’s learning abilities. Children who watch more TV experience more difficulty in learning languages.
How to Combat Screen Time
Too much screen time can have long-lasting effects. However, it is possible to fight these effects. Here are some ways to fight the negative effects of screen time.
Regulate Your Screen
You can reduce your risk of eye strain from screen time by adjusting the lighting of your screen. Ensure that your screen isn’t brighter than your surroundings. Your eyes may have difficulty adjusting to your screen.
Remember to follow the 20-20-20 rule. When working on a screen, take a break every 20 minutes. Look at an object that is 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Doing this allows your eyes to focus and give them a break. If you need to spend long hours on a screen, use eye drops. Using artificial tears will moisturize your eyes that may dry out from too much screen time.
Place at least 25 inches of space between yourself and your screen. You tend to overwork your eyes if you stay too close to the screen. Angle your screen so that you have a slight downward gaze.
Prioritize Necessary Screen Time
Since the pandemic, people all around the globe spend more time on their screens. Whether it’s for a zoom meeting or class, people of all ages have increased screen time. If you already spent hours on a Zoom meeting, try not to hop on Netflix right away.
Consider redesigning your living room. Make sure that your living space does not center around electronic devices. Regulate your screen time throughout the day.
As a rule of thumb, stay away from electronics at least two hours before your bedtime. Doing this will reduce your exposure to blue light and will help you fall asleep faster.
Look for Alternative Activities
Many of us tend to browse through social media or watch a movie outside of work hours. To limit your screen time, look for other activities. Try picking up a new hobby that doesn’t involve staring at a screen.
While exercise may not reduce the effects of blue light, it can reduce your digital time. It can also prevent you from staying idle for too long. You may also try cooking new recipes.
Look for healthy recipes as an alternative to junk food. More time goes to planning and preparing meals, cutting down your screen time. Go outside for a walk and enjoy the benefits of natural sunlight.
Listen to Your Body
Too much screen time will not only affect your eyes. You may feel any of the other harmful effects first. If you start experiencing body pains, learn to listen to your body.
Take a break if you start feeling pain in your neck, back, or shoulders. Get up and take a few minutes to stretch. Try not to force yourself on the screen if you start experiencing pain.
You can do some simple yoga stretches to relieve aches and pains. Remember to also drink an adequate amount of water.
Adjust Your Screen
Adjusting your screen settings can reduce the negative effects of screen time. Adjust your text size and contrast to fit your comfort. Black text on a white background is the most ideal screen setting.
In your screen settings, you may also reduce the color temperature. This will allow you to reduce the blue light emission from your screen. Consider installing an anti-glare screen cover.
There are also special glasses that you can use to block blue light. Some glasses can also improve image focus and contrasts. This will reduce any eye strain that you may experience from prolonged screen time.
Aim for a pair of eyeglasses that can provide these additional features. Some phone screen covers will also allow you to reduce screen glare.
Most of our screen time goes to social media apps. Common social media apps include What’s App, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. If you want to reduce your time on your devices, consider deleting these apps.
Set limits for screen time on your phones. You can download software that puts a lock on social media apps for a certain amount of time. Some models record your screen time and to which apps your time goes.
Apple products show you a breakdown of your time on screen. Use this as a guide to know which apps to delete.
Avoid the Negative Effects of Screen Time
Sleep deprivation and eye strain are only some of the negative side effects of screen time. Too much screen time can have long-lasting impacts if not treated. Use these ways to combat too much screen time.
Setting limits and adjusting your screen settings can help you fight these effects. And you don’t have to stop here! Check out our other guides on regulating screen time and other lifestyle tips.