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How Is Screen Time Affecting Our Bodies?

screen time

Self Care

How Is Screen Time Affecting Our Bodies?

Screen time is on the rise according to a 2021 Ofcom reportwhich showed that in the UK, people spend an average of 3 hours 37 minutes a day on smartphones, tablets and computers, and that figure doesn’t include other forms of screen time such as gaming or watching television.

However, there are widespread concerns about the impact it has, particularly the adverse effects on children and adolescents. So just how is watching a screen affecting our bodies?

screen time

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How does screen time impact our health?

Too much of it can lead to both physical and mental health problems. Here are some of the signs that screen time may be negatively impacting your health.


Aches and pains

Prolonged screen time encourages sitting still for long periods, often with poor posture and inadequate support for our musculoskeletal system. Watching a screen can lead to back and neck pain from incorrect posture in front of screens, as well as aches and pain in our arms, wrists and fingers. Headaches are also a common complaint after excessive screen use.


Anxiety and depression

A direct link between screen time and depression has been demonstrated in adults. Spending excessive amounts of time on social media, in particular, can be a cause of anxiety and depression, and lead to unhealthy comparisons, especially among teenagers.


Sleep disturbances

Screen use affects our sleep-wake cycles and can lead to difficulties in falling and staying asleep and having a good quality of sleep, particularly if we are watching a screen just before we go to bed.

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Vision problems

Too much screen use can also negatively impact our vision.

Roshni Patel, BSC (Hons) MCOptom, expert optometrist from Lenstore explains:

“Too much screentime can have an impact on our eyes. The reduced amount of blinking can cause our eyes to dry out and become tired quicker. It’s best to take regular breaks to look at things that are further away – a great approach is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet or more away. Small changes like this, as well as ensuring your sitting position is comfortable and not too close to your screen, can really make a difference to your eye health.”


What are the benefits of taking time away from screens?

Reducing the overall amount of time you spend on screens and taking prolonged periods away from a screen has plenty of benefits for health and wellbeing.

Time away from screens can boost your mood, and free up your time to spend on other activities. It also allows for better relationships and connections with your loved ones and community.

If you’re starting to notice the physical effects of too much screen use on your body, then a long-term reduction in screen time can improve your physical health. Screen time has been associated with obesity, which in turn increases the risk of many other health conditions that can be life-limiting or even life-threatening so if you feel your screen usage is impacting your health, it’s important not to wait to take action.

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