As tablets, iPods, laptops, mobile phones and other screen-based devices become more and more a natural part of our everyday lives, some have begun to speculate about whether their constant use is actually healthy. Scientists have started to take a look at just how screen time affects the body and brain, and while their findings don’t suggest that we all get rid of all our electronic devices, they do indicate that too much screen time can adversely affect your health.
How Screen Time Affects Health
1. It causes your brain to restructure. The grey matter that makes up your brain and transmits messages between neurons can be damaged as a result of excessive screen time. The grey matter can shrink, its ability to communicate between neurons can be impeded, and the individual can experience cravings and poor cognitive performance.
2. It increases your chance of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, and it is more common among those who lead abnormally sedentary lifestyles. Sitting still for many hours on end in front of a screen can lead to severe physical health damages that cannot be undone simply by spending some time exercising every day.
3. It can strain your eyes. It has become fairly well known that the blue light in screens can damage the retina and cause eye strain. In fact, some researchers suggest that after twenty minutes of staring at a screen, an individual should look at something twenty feet away for at least twenty seconds. It can also help to dim the screen and minimize one’s screen time.
4. It may restrict your ability to process emotions. Screen time can replace the frequent face-to-face interaction that often helps individuals to develop, understand and process healthy emotions.
5. It may shorten your lifespan. Decades of research studies have proven that individuals who spend a lot of time in front of screens have an increased risk of mortality. Even worse, extra exercise isn’t enough to counter the damaging effects of excessive screen time.
Individuals who wish to live longer, healthier and happier lifestyles should bear in mind that excessive screen time works to counter all their efforts. So at the end of a long day, when you are very tired and want nothing more than to sit in front of the television, consider taking a long walk instead. You may feel better, which makes it plenty worth it.