Why Is Too Much Screen Time Bad For Mental Health?


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Do you know that screen time may also be a source of addiction for everyone, just like alcohol and drugs? Prolonged use of all sorts of medium such as TV, computer, and cellphones serve as a digital drug to your whole well-being. It’s not only detrimental to physical health but also mental health. Listed below are some of the reasons why. 

 

Isolation Leads To Depression, Anxiety, And Moodiness

 

Believe it or not, some individuals face the screen up to 18 to 20 hours a day. Often, this much screen time is not only limited to playing or scrolling social media feed and also includes productivity hours like working or studying. 

 

Given that you’re facing your screen for an extended period, there are chances that you’re isolated. Since you are preoccupied with gadgets, you tend to miss out on social interactions. You don’t get to spend time with your peers anymore. The absence of these physical and emotional connections with people might lead you to gradually develop sadness and moodiness. 

 

Some individuals might rebut that screen time won’t be as bad if you’re playing with other people together. After all, it’s as if you’re also interacting and developing your relationships with them, right? 

 

Surprisingly, the answer here is no. A lot of people mistakenly believe that interactive screen-time, which includes emailing, video calling, gaming, or any social media use, is better than passive screen time, such as watching a movie.

However, this is not the case. Studies revealed that interactive screen time has a larger chance of mood, sleep, and cognitive problems. It is because you’ll be more prone to compulsive and hyperarousal use. 

 

Dietary Problems

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There is also evidence that links too much screen time with a less healthy diet and lowers energy intake. For one, given that people get too consumed with the digital happenings, they fail to keep track of time, which eventually leads to missing meals throughout the day.

 

However, there are instances when they might intentionally miss meals to attend to what keeps them busy on their gadgets. Putting all of these missed meals together leads to numerous dietary problems. 

 

Given their abnormal eating habits, some people develop obesity or anorexia. These are two extreme body composition problems, but both lead to the same mental health result: loss of confidence. Once they lose their confidence, the tendency is that they will self-isolate and put pity on themselves. It starts the circle of isolation that will eventually lead to depression. 

 

Peer Pressure

 

Gaming and social media are avenues where users can have increased screen time conversations. It started before with the most prominent digital platforms from years ago, such as MySpace and Friendster. These corporate giants had a hold of the digital world back then but crashed upon the evolution of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

 

The reason that spearheaded the downfall of these giants was its lack of direct online interaction. With the birth of video chats, screen-sharing, and more, it improved the way we connect to one another. Aside from the increase in digital interaction, it also became a platform to showcase your lives to others. While it was initially entertaining for everyone, little do people know that there is a downside to this. Social media puts unnecessary and additional pressure on individuals because of what they see from others. 

 

The peer pressure you receive from all of these expectations only worsen your mental health. For one, the tendency is always to feel insecure. Even when your life is good as it is, you end up looking at your cup half-empty because you keep worrying about others’ opinions. Continually thinking about what others feel about you will only reveal all your insecurities. You’ll then be pressured to modify that imperfection just for the sake of your image. 

 

Daytime Tiredness

Source: wikimedia.org

 

Too much screen exposure may also disrupt your sleeping pattern. Even though it’s already in the middle of the night, your brain is still at its maximum function because of your online activities. If you have a hard time sleeping, there’s a substantial possibility that you’ll end up facing the screen again. 

 

It’s as if it’s a cycle. You can’t sleep because of your extended digital usage, but you use these devices to make you sleepy. It’s pretty endless. At the end of the day, you’ll have less time to sleep. 

 

You may end up waking up and yet feeling tired. Also, you might find yourself lacking the energy and the power to accomplish all of your tasks. At the same time, you’ll feel less focused. All of these things, if put together, will only negatively affect your mental health. 

 

With the realities we have now, it’s pretty challenging to stray away from the digital world. A lot of schools are transitioning to online schooling, while work has shifted to the work-from-home setup. Nevertheless, having too much screen time will only gradually destroy your mental health. The best way to go about these is to have rules that you strictly follow to ensure that you won’t be mentally affected. 

 

Lastly, consider having an occasional digital detox. Try to steer away from your screens during the weekend when there is no work or school. You can keep yourself busy by doing other activities such as cleaning the house, cooking, gardening, or other activities that you might enjoy.

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