Modern technology seems to know no bounds. We can watch our favorite shows from anywhere on tablets or smartphones. With a few quick taps and swipes, we can get answers to almost any question we can imagine. The instant a book is released, we can have it on our phones without even visiting the bookstore. All of this has profoundly affected our quality of life and educational options. However, not all of the impacts of modern technology have been positive. With all this connectivity comes a host of new problems, and medical science is just beginning to grasp the range of these concerns. Mental and physical health can be impacted by spending excessive time glued to a screen.
The Verdict Is In On The Risks Of Excessive Screen Time
The presence of this technology in our lives has significant impacts we may not immediately notice. Its ever-present nature has shown that these seeming miracles of technology have altered the way we live, the way we exercise, and even the way we love. In all of this, there were inevitably going to be some regrettable impacts. Below are four known consequences of spending too much time in front of an electronic screen:
- Higher Rates Of Developmental Delay: Make no mistake, the amount of information available online can increase book smarts in impressive ways. However, there are risks in younger children. Those who spend greater than two hours a day using an electronic device can have difficulty developing interpersonal skills and building language. The impact is often most strongly felt in their ability to relate to other people in real-world environments.
- Poor Sleep Quality: Many people use their phones to wind down at the end of a long day. Surprisingly this can significantly impact the quality of sleep they get. It’s common for people to sleep less and sleep more poorly when using a device right before sleep. Doctors suggest getting away from your digital device for at least half an hour before falling asleep to counteract this effect. Blue-light filters put on your device can also help.
- Heightened Obesity Rates: Obesity has been an ongoing battle in the United States for many years. The introduction of numerous digital devices in our lives has only aggravated this reality. Obesity isn’t just about additional weight and impaired physical health. It has also been shown to be connected to mood disorders, anxiety, depression, and other mental impacts that can impair our quality of life.
These factors just scratch the surface of what we’re learning about the impact of electronics on our day-to-day life.
The Positive Effects of Screen Time
We must address the dual nature of our new digital reality. There are impressive and far-reaching benefits to the access we have to information today. People can make friends and connect across vast distances. Online friendships can become as essential to our mental health and are just as valid as physical in-person friendships. The concept that these digital friendships aren’t as important or real as traditional friendships are outdated and incorrect. In addition to these elements, the digital world helps shrink our world. It also shows that despite our differences, we all come with the same concerns. The future of our world is indelibly going to mix digital and physical realities more as time goes on. We must take care of both these worlds and learn to live while straddling them.