Screen time, which is the amount of time a person spends staring at a screen, whether it be on a computer, smartphone, television, or a game console, has been the topic of numerous studies that investigate its power on mental health.
While screens are commonly used for education and spending free time in front of a screen may even promote general well-being, it is important to consider the many disadvantages of smartphone technology use as well. In a world that is becoming more connected via technology but yet still distantly separated, it is quite crucial to strike a balance between the benefits and downfalls of screen time, in order to control the way it may be currently impacting your mental health.
The Negative Impact of Screen Time
Studies show that over 10% of young people globally are suffering from mental health issues, it is critical to address the impact of screen use during the late teenage years, which is the peak age for the onset of such issues. This age group is moving from childhood to young adulthood, and for many, adjusting to college or university and life can be a big challenge.
In recent years, the use of smartphones among the youth has increased dramatically, leading to a significant decline in several teenagers’ mental health. Many teenagers routinely ignore the generally accepted advice to limit screen time to a maximum of two hours per day. This refusal of recommended screen time may increase mental health issues in adolescents and later as adults.
Benefits of a balanced screen time
It goes without saying that too much of everything is usually a bad thing.
There is a lot to gain from reducing screen time and maintaining a healthy relationship with your smartphone. Here are some of the positive ways a balanced screentime can be impactful on your mental health
A better mood
An effective way to improve your mood and health is to disconnect from smartphones and include yourself in social activities. Depression and anxiety can lead to you isolating yourself socially, but participating in social activities can help remove symptoms and improve your well-being.
Taking a break from your phone or computer and engaging in activities such as sports, hobbies, or spending time with friends and family can help boost your mood and reduce stress.
Social interaction can have positive effects on your mental health, by engaging in social activities, you can form connections with others, gain a sense of belonging with your peers, and increase your overall happiness.
Improved physical well-being
In today’s digital age, technology has made life more convenient, but it has also made it easier to become sedentary and stagnant. Despite the well-known health benefits of exercise, people are finding it difficult to stick to a healthy routine due to long hours spent in front of screens. There are many links between sedentary behaviour and an increase in screen time.
Prolonged sedentary time has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and eating disorders, along with mental health consequences. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the relationship between screen usage, physical health, and mental well-being when choosing a fitness plan.
Increased screen usage is linked to obesity risk and poor self-image. It’s no surprise that the popularity of screen time has led to a lack of physical activity and less time spent in nature. This shift has replaced “green time” with screen time, and it’s having negative effects on physical health.
Reducing screen time and increasing physical exercise can be very beneficial for men in particular because of testosterone activity. In today’s high-tech environment, it may not always be possible, but making an effort to do so can change your physical health.
More time to explore and play
It’s important to explore and learn about the world around us. While children are naturally curious, adults can also benefit from being adventurous. One way to do this is by reducing screen time and trying new activities. For example, you could take a walk or bike ride, visit a nearby park or museum, or explore a local nature trail. These activities are not only fun, but they also help you learn and grow.
In addition to outdoor activities, there are many indoor hobbies that can be fun too. Try activities like colouring, reading, creating art, or pursuing other hobbies that interest you. By reducing screen time, you’ll have more time for these types of activities, which can be great for your mental health and overall well-being.
To feel cared for and connected, we need to connect with people. As children seek this sense of belonging from their caretakers, adults may turn to their relatives and friends. However, excessive use of smartphones may harm these relationships.
For instance, children might feel the need to compete for their parent’s attention when they see them using a screen. They may perceive that parents are more emotionally available when they put down their smartphones, which can affect family ties.
While smartphone technology has its benefits, it can also negatively impact our lives and lead to social disconnection. Our relationship screen time is impacting our mental health constantly.
Taking a break from it and engaging in other activities can improve your health, as well as allow you to pursue your passions and connect with your loved ones.
Try disconnecting from technology today and see how it can improve your health and connection to others, or use Applatch, the mobile app that helps you lock addictive apps through an accountability partner.
Your mental health will thank you for it.