Did the pandemic increase our screen time?
Common Sense Media conducted a national survey recently to find the time spent by parents in front of various screens. This survey included 1,800 parents of eight to 18 aged children, and surprisingly it was found that an average of 9 hours and 22 minutes is spent out of which only 1 hour is for work. So, lets see what are the affects faced by them and how they can prevent.
Average adults’ screen time:
Pandemic made the average 11 hours of screen time to an surprising hike of 19 hours per day according to the US. This cannot be blamed as every work space, education and entertainment revolves around online and gadgets. While we need to be glad about the evolving technology for being able to continue our works without hindrance, we must also be vigilant about unnecessary screen time that can be avoided. This will help us to decrease its affect on our health and lifestyle.
Abnormal screen time:
Fair rules are available regarding healthy screen time for kids, but not very often about adults screen time. According to a study, high risk of depression is seen in individuals who invest 6 hours or higher in a day, in front of a digital screen. Whereas, serious enhancement is shown in people’s health who limited social media usage to half an hour per day. This proves that duration of screen time has an impact in our personal and social life. Besides work, an adult needs to reduce the time before screen to two hours per day.
Impact on personal life:
- Sleeplessness(INSOMNIA)– We might have experienced of not feeling sleepy when we scroll through our phones. This is because of the blue light radiated from the screens, which prevents production of hormone melatonin that controls our sleep-wake cycle. If all through the day there is constant input of this light, it will surely affect our sleep at night leading to other health issues.
- Media obsession – Anything that we like to spend time on becomes our habit, and since the gadgets are interesting to handle and view they are highly prone to become an addiction. There are studies which prove that people show addictive behavior of always wanting to scroll the screen or check through apps. It is also shown that gadgets are used to express their emotions, to alter their mood and so on rather than sharing it to family and friends.
- Declining attention – Spending more time before screen unnecessarily reduces the opportunity of improving the creative and grasping power of our brain. It was found that smart phone addiction analyzed victims faced difficulties in message transmission and cognitive performance on one part of the brain.
- Poor posture syndrome – We are used to sit in different postures and position to watch the Netflix series or movies comfortably. But when we sit in those postures for a long span of time, it leads to severe body pains and also to poor posture syndrome.
- Headaches and dimmed vision – A long time spent staring at screen might strain our eyes. An extra burden and effort is experienced by the muscles of eyes to focus as the eyes become dry because of digital strain. And since the eyes don’t blink as normal, the film of tears that provide protection to the surface of the eye evaporates and disrupts. This leads to dimmed vision and the screen’s light causes headache.
- Increased body fat deposits – We sit with gadgets without moving or physical activity, which is the reason why our body fats don’t burn and start to deposit leading to fatigue or artery blockage. So, in order to prevent ourselves from obesity or health problems, it’s better to give ourselves break from the screen and go for a walk, do a bunch of exercises, play a sport, listen to music and so on.
Ways to Reduce Screen Time:
There are few initiatives adults can take to avoid screen time before phones, if we think we are addicted and wish to change.
Beneficial exercises for eyes:
People with any of the following eye problems can try to do the eye exercises
- strabismus, which is an eye movement condition
- ocular motility conditions
- learning difficulties
- convergence insufficiency
- nystagmus, which is an eye movement condition
- accommodative dysfunction
- motion sickness
- visual field defects
- vergence problems
- visual field deficits following brain injury
People with glaucoma, cataracts or retinopathy related eye conditions are not likely to profit from doing the eye exercises.
The following are few eye exercises that people with above listed conditions can follow:
1.The 20-20-20 rule,
2.Focus change also helps you with digital eye strain and can be performed by sitting
- A finger is to be held a few inches away from one eye.
- The gaze on the finger is to be focused
- Then focus on an object farther away, by moving the finger away
- Focus on the finger again bringing it closer to the eye
- Focus on an object farther away and repeat the process thrice
- Close the eyes.
- Slowly move the eyes upward, then downward and repeat it thrice
- Slowly move the eyes to the left, then to the right and repeat it thrice
- Move the eyes in the shape of a figure 8, focusing on an area on the floor around 8 feet away.
- Trace the imaginary figure 8 for 30 seconds, then switch direction.
- Hold a pencil between the eyes at arm’s length.
- Try to keep a single image of the pencil which is between the eyes, while slowly moving it toward the nose.
- Until it is no longer a single image move the pencil
- Position the pencil at the closest point where it is still a single image and repeat it 20 times
It is recommended as a part of vision therapy and can benefit people with convergence insufficiency.
On the whole gadgets and digital screen cannot to totally prevented from using but rather we can reduce our time on it for unnecessary reasons like gaming for hours or scrolling reels for hours. Sitting in a same place can lead to many health issues. If you are one of them, then it’s in your hands to make hectic life to healthy lifestyle by taking a step now to implement above solutions to prevent future problems!
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