Tech Overload: The Ups and Downs of Screen Time


I don’t know about you but I am guilty of Tech overload. Once I pick up my phone, hours can pass before I realize the time I have spent glued to the screen. Sometimes that is productive, like when I am doing research. Other times it isn’t, like when I scroll through Facebook or Pinterest. Some games help our brain like Words with Friends or chess. Some games don’t. So we can’t lump all screen time together as harmful but often the length of time we have our eyes on a screen is.

The Benefits

There are benefits to screen time. It’s one of the ways we relax or spend our downtime. It’s a way we zone out after a long day of problem-solving or busy-ness. We often can find peace in the immediate gratification of acquiring information on the spot. It entertains us. My favorite websites are a clean comedy site and Ted Talks. Check them out here and here. But, it being an alternative to the mind-numbing boredom of standing in a line at the secretary of state office is probably my favorite benefit.

The Repercussions

The repercussions though are many. We have become more sedentary than ever. Because it is so easy to get lost down the many rabbit holes of information gathering, hours can go by before we realize we didn’t accomplish what we originally intended to do when we first sat down at a screen. The excess in sitting causes our muscles to become stiff and atrophy. Less movement without a decrease in eating can contribute to obesity which leads to inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and illness. Eye strain and dry eyes are common repercussions of extended screen time. Kids that spend more time on the screen than interacting with people can become more antisocial or be unable to communicate well with others. Some people are more sensitive to the negative effects of electromagnetic frequencies and may get headaches, impaired sleep or brain fog with screen use.

The Remedy

The best solution is by limiting our time in front of a screen. Walking around every half hour helps to reestablish the curves in our spine and move blood and oxygen through our bodies to help prevent physical harm. Choosing more physically active games also helps. Full spectrum vs fluorescent lights overhead can help relieve eye strain as does blinking more which also helps with eye dryness and irritation. Focusing on something in the distance can help prevent accommodative spasm where the muscles of the eyes spasm. Using a grounding mat can help people sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies sleep and think better. Avoiding screen time an hour or two before bed can help if the artificial light of the screen is throwing off your circadian rhythm.

My goal is to spend less time in front of a screen and more time in front of friends and family. I will spend more time moving my body not having to “un-kink” my body, more time focusing on the nature around me and not a computerized replication. And the next time I am waiting in line at the Secretary of State office I will try people watching instead.

 

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