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How Screen Time Impacts Our Health

Written by: Brittany Breton, MSW Intern, SRMP Edited By: Magnolia Heaton, LCSW, SRMT Hello All!


This week, I’ve been thinking about how screen time impacts our overall health and wellness. As technology expands, so does the average amount of time we spend looking at screens. Screen time can include (but is not limited to):

  • Watching TV

  • Using a computer

  • Using smartphones

  • Using tablets

  • Video games

  • Digital schooling

  • Digital working


Research shows that excessive screen time can negatively affect our physical and psychological well-being. Some of these impacts include (but are not limited to) an increased risk of:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Decreased ability to regulate stress

  • Reduced level of self-esteem

  • Fatigue

  • Obesity

  • Cardiovascular disorders

  • Hypertension

  • Cholesterol concerns

  • Insulin resistance

  • Body pain


These risk factors have been found to be especially prevalent in children and adolescents, but also significantly impact adults of all ages.


Because some of us (like myself) have digital school and work obligations, it is important to limit our screen exposure during free time as much as possible to avoid suffering increased negative consequences. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute notes that health experts say optional screen time should be limited to two hours or less per day.


A few tips that can help reduce screen time and the impact it can create:


  • Limit your screen time when possible, especially in your free time.

  • Take frequent breaks from your screens. Rest your eyes and go outside for a few minutes when possible.

  • Schedule screen-free time blocks to dedicate time in your life away from screens. Set timers to alert you when you have reached your screen time limit.

  • Explore new activities and hobbies that can replace screen time.

  • Limit notifications on your devices to avoid triggers that lead to increased screen time

  • If you have difficulty sleeping, consider using a blue light filter on your screens, or purchasing blue light filtering glasses or lenses (prescription and non-prescription ones available).

  • Avoiding screen time in the evening hours can also help negate the impact screens have on sleep patterns. Leave your phone somewhere that is not easily accessible when it’s time to go to bed, and turn off the TV when you’re ready to go to bed.


Reducing screen time can be easier said than done for some of us. If you feel like you are struggling with limiting your screen time, reach out to one of our providers for support. We’re here for you <3


Much Love,

Brittany <3

MSW Intern


Resources:


Nakshine, V. S., Thute, P., Khatib, M. N., & Sarkar, B. (2022). Increased screen time as a cause of declining physical, psychological Health, and sleep patterns: A literary review. Cureus, 14(10), e30051. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.30051


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2013). Reduce screen time: Limit computer time and television usage. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/reduce-screen-time/index.htm#:~:text=Health%20experts%20say%20screen%20time,hours%20or%20less%20a%20day.


Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2018). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 12, 271–283. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.10.003

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