Screens are a big part of our lives. They’re here to stay and the use of them is only growing: in fact, it’s estimated that by 2025, US households will have an average of 20 connected devices. And while there are a lot of good things about being so connected, there are also a lot of negative things. By being conscious of the potential negative effects of screen time, and making a plan to counteract these negative effects, you can get on a path to keeping a healthy relationship with screen time. So why is it necessary to cut down on your screen time, and how can you do it?
Why Reduce Screen Time?
Like anything in life, screen time is a mix of positive and negative – and it’s all about balance. While technology has vastly improved everyday life, there are some ways that having screens of all types so readily available can be detrimental to both our physical and mental health:
- Screens can contribute to packing on the pounds. Spending a lot of time watching TV or scrolling on your phone can contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. Before you know it, you’re binge watching hours of a show without moving from your couch, or trying to get to the next level on your favorite video game – and days of doing this can really add up.
- Screen time can exacerbate depression and anxiety. Social media and influencers only show the highlight reels. You get hand-picked content shown to you by the people that are producing it, and no one is going to choose between a picture of themselves after they just woke up over one where their hair and makeup have been done, right? And not only that, but most people only choose to share the best parts of their lives. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, seeing these carefully curated photos and stories is not going to help.
- Screens can take a toll on your eyes and body. If you look at a screen for too long, you could experience digital eye strain. Digital eye strain causes headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. In addition, sitting at a computer working for 8+ hours a day can cause back pain and posture issues. People who text a lot can develop “text neck,” or the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your phone or any screen too much and for too long.
Small Changes, Big Differences
Since screens are probably not going anywhere anytime soon we have to find a balance, so we can protect our mental and physical health. It’s easy to get sucked into our devices, but there are ways you can cut down on your screen time:
- Schedule bedtime on your phone. This feature can be found on iPhones or Androids, with a wide range of customization available, so you can play around with this feature to make it work for you. If you don’t like the bedtime feature that’s on your phone, check out the app store and find something that works for you. Even turning your screen to grayscale after a certain time at night is one small step toward using your phone less and less.
- Take time to move. If you work in front of a computer, set a timer and make yourself stand up and get away from your monitor at regular intervals. It can be as often as once every hour, or once every 2 hours. The thing that matters is that you give your eyes and body a rest from the same position and blue light exposure for a little while. Bonus: you get some exercise if you use that time to take a walk around the block or up and down the hallways.
- Keep your bedroom screen-free. Don’t bring your phone into your bedroom at night. We’ve all been there: one minute it’s 9pm, the next it’s 1am and you realize you’ve gone down an internet rabbit hole. But if you don’t have your phone next to you when you lay down, the temptation is removed. But a screen free bedroom also means no TV! How many times have you said “just one more episode”? And then you’ve blown through a season of your favorite show. If you can manage to keep screens out of your bedroom, it will feel like a sanctuary, one that is reserved just for sleep.
If you are suffering from the effects of screen time, such as sore muscles or eye problems, your best bet is to see a doctor. If you need help finding health insurance that’s right for you, contact EZ today for a free instant quote. Simply enter your zip code in the bar above or call 888-350-1890 to speak to a local agent. There is no obligation or hassle, just free quotes from the top-rated insurance companies in your state.