As Covid-19 reigns the harness on people’s daily lives, the doors to social interactions and outdoor activities are creeping shut, leaving people secluded in the safety of their homes. Digital screen time is on the rise as people turn to technology in entertainment, virtual school, communication, and careers.
Electronics are a part of everyone’s daily lives, but their harmful effects on health warrant a limit on digital screen time. Valleywisehealth.org states that excessive screen time can be a risk factor for obesity, lead to sleep problems due to light emission that disrupts the brain’s sleep cycle, chronic neck and back pain, and a possible increase in anxiety and depression. Not only does it lead to physical effects, but also mental repercussions. An NIH study revealed that children exposed to more than two hours of screen time activities daily scored lower on language and thinking tests and were inhibited from observing the real world, leading to a “tunnel vision.” Both of these studies show that the negative aspects of overusing technology can lead to incredibly negative health and educational issues.
To reduce detrimental effects of excessive technology use, five minute breaks, a blue light filter guard, and an anti-glare screen filter can diminish eye strain and dryness. If people want to further control time spent on technology, iPhone owners can set limits through screen time settings, and other devices can use apps such as Screentime, YourHour, and StayFree, which allow people to set time limits on certain apps such as Instagram or altogether block those apps for certain days.
A junior at Northview High School, Ko-Eun Lee, affirms technology’s negative impact on health by claiming that “being exposed to the computer screen all day during virtual school gives me back pain, dry eyes, and more frequent headaches.” She decided to set a screen time limit after realizing the need for change, and stated that, “I feel much better being able to turn to other activities during my free time, like riding the bike outside or spending more time with my family”
Despite the increasing reliance on technology for both personal and work-related reasons, a break from digital screen time can combat the negative effects of constant exposure to electronic devices. The average adult spends 34 years staring at screens, so taking a step away from technology and immersing into an expansive world of nature and adventure can make life more worthwhile. As the clock keeps ticking and the hours pass by on computer screens, it is crucial to remember that life is teeming in every corner, and it is just a matter of looking away for a moment to witness it.