When I was a little child, the only real warnings I had about technological gadgets and their digital cousins were all about televisions and computers: don’t stay too long watching the TV, because too much TV time can make your eyes go square" we were told. Fast forward to 2019 and the threat is now even more pronounced, no thanks to the different kinds of screen-based technological devices making their way into our world – PCs, tablets, iPods, Smartphones, Smartwatches, and lots more.
And you know what's more disturbing about this evolution? Nowadays, hardly can you go past a few rooms within a block without finding at least a few people watching something on their screen-based devices. If you think I'm exaggerating, just take a look around your environment, chances are you will find at least one person staring, pressing, or doing one thing or the other on their smartphones. Such is the extent to which these innovations have eaten deep into our worlds. Little wonder why scientists and researchers alike are now very much interested in figuring out what too much screen time does to the body and brain.
Research about the psychological impacts of screen time
When you go online today to research about the psychological impacts of screen time on people, the chances are that the majority of what you'll find will be kid-based.
When you go online today to research about the psychological impacts of screen time on people, the chances are that the majority of what you'll find will be kid-based. And that's because we live in a society where kids are expected to be climbing trees, throwing apples, and engaging in other traditional manifestations of childhood. Simply put, people expect kids to be doing kiddy stuffs, and the moment they aren't doing these, we begin to worry.
But what about us, adults, in our bedrooms and dorm rooms texting late at night? What about us, adults, in our offices staring at the computer screens for long hours? What about us, adults, chatting, trading, following the news, analyzing, and doing all sorts of stuff on our mobile phones all day long? Is excessive screen time not bad for us too? Are we not endangering our health by getting so addicted to our mobile phones? The simple answer appears to be a "YES" all day long. But you know what's more disheartening? When you talk to some adults about the possible adverse effects of excessive screen time, many of them are quick to point out poor quality sleep as the only real danger. They let you believe that, according to medical advice, using bright gadgets before bedtime at night can impact your sleep time. But what many fail to grasp is that poor quality sleep is only the beginning of the real effect. To this end, we will now share with you some harsh but true facts about how excessive screen time affects both your physical and mental health.
Excessive screen time restructures your brain
According to Psychology Today, one of the first few things that excessive screen time does to the body is that it reconfigures the matter that makes up the brain. So when you’re addicted to your mobile phone, TV, or other tech devices, you risk disrupting the natural configuration of your brain. It is known that the brain consists of grey matter – the heavy part that makes up the folds, and the white matter – the part that transmits messages between neurons. When you now subject yourself to too much screen time, you risk experiencing several brain reconfigurations, which includes grey matter shrinkage, white matter’s inability to communicate, excessive cravings, and lots more.
Excessive screen time makes you vulnerable to metabolic syndrome
In simple terms, metabolic syndrome consists of issues involving diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Like it or not, when you spend too much time in front of screens, maybe binge-watching, game playing, forex trading, or what have you, you risk making yourself vulnerable to these conditions. A certain study of adolescents in 2008 also found that there exists a pretty strong link between excessive screen time and metabolic syndrome.
Excessive screen time leads to eye strain
And of course, yes those warnings, about how TV and computer screens can endanger the eyes, were true. This is pretty straightforward in itself, and it’s very well recognized within the medical world that excessive exposure of the eyes to bright lights can cause strain. Furthermore, it can even damage the retina in the long run. A report by CBS had a few recommendations, including the 20-20-20 rule. This rule state that after 20 minutes of staring at your phone or computer screen, try to look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Additionally, you should also try to use the dimmer backlights on your phone rather than letting your phone shine brightly for the whole day.
Excessive screen time can lead to an untimely death
Harsh as it may sound, it is the truth! For decades now, several studies have proven that spending excessive time in front of bright screens – whether it’s a TV, tablets, or any smart device – lowers cardiovascular health outcomes and increases mortality risk.