Our devices and electronics have become a part of everyday life. Whether that be through work, entertainment or leisure, the last few years have seen a huge spike in high screen time and digital engagement. Although our screens are an essential for most, this world does also bring a bag of negative effects for both adults and children.
What is screen time?
Screen time is pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s the amount of time spent using a device. A device includes any digital media including mobile phones, computers or laptops, video games and television. Often, users don’t realise just how much screen time they are consuming throughout the day. Combining 8 hours on an office computer with the evening TV time, you’d be surprised just how high screen time can get.
Health effects of too much screen time
No matter how old or fit you are, high screen time has a number of harmful effects, some of which you wouldn’t expect.
Irregular sleeping pattern
You’ve probably heard several times to switch off your device before you call it a night, and this is for good reason. The light produced from electronic devices has the potential to interfere with the brain sleep cycle, preventing a good night’s sleep.
Having eyes fixating on a screen for several hours a day can cause serious eye strain and potential damage. Too much screen time can lead to issues such as straining, dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches.
Although weight or obesity issues can vary, even two hours of TV a day can increase the risk of weight gain. There are of course, other factors to consider when it comes to increased body weight including low activity levels and diet.
Neck and back pain
You wouldn’t necessarily associate screen time with neck or back pain, but there is actually a clear link between the two. Too much screen time can lead to poor posture and strained muscles.
Screen time and mental health
Whilst regulated online use can provide positivity and benefits, there are also a number of mental health effects that screen time can bring. Digital media has been associated with a range of mental health issues, effective emotions, mood and anxiety.
Living an online life can often make you forget that you’re living in the real world. Although online gaming and social media can build friendships and communities, it also has the power to decrease social skills and face to face interaction.
The more time spent watching and analysing other people’s lives, the less time you spend on exploring and appreciating your own. Screen time dedicated to social media specifically, can have a negative effect on self confidence. With the influx of online influencers, there has been an increase in people comparing themselves to others online.
A 2017 study found that adults who had over 6 hours of screen time a day, were more likely to experience levels of depression. Looking at a screen for most of the day results in low moods and low energy levels.
How much is too much screen time?
The amount of screen time that people should endure can depend on their age and life situation. Whilst children and adults have different recommended screen times, this can also depend on your job or hobbies.
Experts have recommended that adults should limit their screen time outside of their working hours. With the maximum time being 2 hours a day outside the office, it has also been mentioned that 30 minutes of social media can lead to improved wellbeing. Screen time regarding children is a little more intricate. There have been many cases and resources offering different age categories and how much screen time they should be getting. For example, children under 2, should be having less than 2 hours a day, ages 2 to 5, should be 1 hour or less and children between the ages of 5 to 18 are more tailored to their personal circumstances.
Optml – Building a balanced lifestyle
Optml can’t control your screen time or do much more than advice and help, however, if you did need a leg up for a balanced lifestyle, we’re here to help!
Made up of a two step supplement including a Rise and Rest formula, Optml supplements are taken in the morning and the evening, designed to support day time energy levels followed by a good nights rest. If you’re finding your high screen time is taking a toll on your day to day wellness or disrupting your sleep, Optml is the easiest step to take for improved health.