You may ask yourself, "How much screen time is safe?" Well, my dear reader, let me tell you that this question draws attention more than avocado toast! With the increasing use of screens in our daily lives and even more so now during a pandemic, we need to get cracking on this topic. Fear not because I have rallied up some information from various researches to give you an answer that’s crystal clear.(Hint: It's not just about limiting your hours in front of a screen)
Defining Screen Time
Before we dive into how much screen time we should allow ourselves (and our loved ones), let's define what counts as "screen time." Screens can range from mobile phones to laptops and also include video games and television sets. Basically any device with a backlit display including electronic reading devices such as Kindles or tablets count towards the definition.
The Risks Associated with Excessive Screen Time
Blue Light Leads to Sleepless Nights
Most screens emit blue light which can impact our circadian rhythm leading us awaken at night (cue the Blame Game). According to studies conducted by Harvard Health Publishing³1, exposure to artificial blue light late into evening could reset our body clocks leading insomnia . Symptoms associated with lack of sleep are irritability headaches fatigue dizziness among others [^4]Yikes!
Unsurprisingly people are less likely racing around when they’re busy scrolling Facebook or watching Netflix. But did you know excessive sedentariness(finger rolling included) could be quite dangerous? Increased risk factors for numerous heart diseases obesity hypertension bone decay cancer decreased flexibility refines bad eating habits .
Visual Distress Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain With increased accessibly come risks 30% adults struggle symptoms digital eye strain such discomfort dryness exhaustion or twitching of eyes .
What’s the Right Amount?
Sadly this isn’t an easy question to answer because there are no definitive numbers that work for everyone. A healthy screen time could range from as little as 1 hour for children under age 5 and up to three hours per day for youths aged between five and eighteen years old according Psychiatry Research[^5].
However, research has shown that moderate technology use can produce cognitive benefits , so it's not entirely terrible if we allow ourselves some screen-time. The key is balance; stepping away from screens and engaging in other activities like exercise (gasp) can be beneficial.
Now that you have deeper insight into the potential hazards excessive digital exposure may impact your health, how else might one reduce their perilous risk? Below are a few possibilities:
Limit Screen Time
The American Heart Association suggests limiting kids' and teens’ use of electronic devices to two hours per day at most.[^7] That ratio doesn't seem too bad really, considering all the uncertainties surrounding what's an appropriate amount of usage. Creating daily routines which keep track ensure accountability with oneself alongside monitoring foster discipline With apps such they Family Zone and Google’s own Family Link setting restrictions on daily allocated screen limits tailored specific users ensures safe browsing sessions./restrictions/screens/grant/
Take Breaks Frequently
Although a set maximum period has yet become standardized psychologists recommend taking break every usually half-hour intervals along using screenings rule stop rest stretch walk around give yourself chance experience breaks reality outside four walls (or wherever the screens) /beneficial/productivity/
Use Blue Light Glasses
Blue light blocking glasses prevent harmful amounts blue light reaching our eyeballs nose leads suppressionity melatonin production hence hindering sleepwear Stands perfect solution who binge-watch rather than hit sack earlier.
It’s important strive multiple ways protect physical mental wellbeing aim optimizing screen time usage. Moderation only thing will make screen-time bearable for all of us. Of course, this doesn’t mean it is easy but with determination we can set boundaries avoid detrimental effects excessive use screens have on our health.
"Melatonin Production Increases After Exposure to a Light Pulse of Low Colour Temperature and Intensity in the Evening" Journal of Pineal Research; Simon N Archer PhD and others RSSNA.org 2006 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1659718/ ↩
https://medicalfuturist.com/digital-health-aspect-tech-dangerous-health-risk/ : Anshel, Jeffery., “Smartphone Use and Travelling: Added Risk or Benefit.” Current Issues in Tourism vol. 20, no. 19, pp. E1460-E1466 doi:10.1080/13683500.2015. [^5] Sonia Lippke , Christiane Aporta & Sebastian D de la Vega (2017) Promoting self-regulatory processes when facing internet-related distractors: what teenagers do before starting homework matters Performance Improvement Quarterly : PIQ Volume 30 Issue 3 Pages 253-262 DOI:10/gfwqrt
[^6] Ohannessian, Carmen McCrink(2021). The Right Amount of Screen Time During COVID-19? Whatever Works For Your Family Dynamics HealthLine. Accessed April23rd 2021 https://www.healthline.com/family/screen-time-during-coronavirus-pandemic/right-amount-of-screen-time-for-kids [/beneficial/productivity/] [^7] https://www.businessinsider.in/business/news/the-right-screen-time-limit-for-your-child-depends-on-their-age-according-to-new-american-heart-association-guidelines/articleshow/71464922.cms  Blue light blocking glasses by brands like Gunner Optiks, SpectraShield and Mikolopi aimed reducing the intensity bluey-ray effect computer screens onto eyes. ↩