Technology is a good servant but a bad master. Without a hint of doubt, we can say tech habits have transformed how we access information. With increasing internet penetration and widespread use of tech gadgets, life has become simpler. Nonetheless, it has also brought some health problems. For example, staying glued to the monitor can ruin your health, career, education or even relationships. In this article, we will dig deeper to understand how tech habits can be bad for your health. Also, you will learn what you can do to fix them.
Increasing Screen Time Is the Major Reason Behind Health Problems
Almost everything you want seems just a click away. Be it health information or tips for dating, it’s right on your screen. More interestingly, you can express your thoughts and emotions on social media. But have you ever thought about how these activities are affecting your health? If not, you should. It’s high time you think of getting away from the virtual world and make a connection with the real world, real people.
Screen time is the amount of time you spend using a tech gadget. It can be anything from staring at your smartphone screen to watching your favorite series on Netflix. In fact, tech habits are a part of an emerging addiction problem called Internet Addiction (IA). While IA is not a separate disorder according to the DSM, the fifth edition has categorized it as “condition for further study”. Meaning, further studies in the future will determine if it is a real disorder. But, this, in no way, takes away the fact that health problems due to tech habits are bad for your health.
What Are Health Problems That May Occur Due to Tech Habits?
The risks of increased screen time are:
- Physical inactivity. This is by far the most visible sign that you are using technology in a bad way. Not only does it indicate overuse, but it also hints at some potentially dangerous health problems. For example, physical inactivity is one of the major reasons for obesity and its other health consequences. Not to forget that being obese or overweight increases your risk of diabetes type II, high blood pressure and even some types of cancer. What might further worsen the outcomes is bad posture. As a matter of fact, continuous bad posture can cause physical symptoms like pains and problems with muscles or joint movements. Neck pain due to slouching is a common problem among continuous smartphone users.
- Sleep disturbances. Increasing screen time may interfere with your or your kid’s sleep patterns. Particularly, excessive television viewing could potentially lead to problems with normal sleep habits. This should concern you if your kids spend a lot of time playing video games or watching television.
- Psychological problems. According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, unhealthy tech habits could negatively affect your kid’s focus, memory, mood, and behavior. The study also suggests it could even lead to anxiety and depression. While the study emphasizes the link between mental health problems and technology use among the kids, adolescents are also not immune to the adverse impacts.
- Vision problems. Opticians say increasing smartphone use could be a reason why vision problems are on the rise. In fact, such habits might lead to a dangerous eye condition called macular degeneration. Remember macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness.
- Unhealthy food habits while watching TV or staring at the monitor. Also, it may lead to unhealthy food choices among kids as they are lured by flashy ads.
Who Is At Risk?
Who is at risk? Understandably, anyone who has access to tech gadgets and internet connection is at risk. Even so, young people are specifically more prone to develop an addiction. It might be that the teens and young people are continuously connected to the internet. Also, they have more free time compared to their working parents. Lastly, tech habits are a cool way to express themselves.
Recommended screen time for kids
The following guideline issued by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) gives you an idea of what is a normal screen time for your kid.
- Kids under age 2 years should have no screen time.
- Children over 2 years. Limit the screen time to 1 to 2 hours per day and under supervision.
Also, take a closer look at what your kids are watching.
What You Can Do
- Take breaks. If you have to sit in front of the laptop as a part of the profession, this is the best tip you can get. Take a short break every hour. Then, stretch, look around and breathe deeply. You should also go for a walk to say hello to your colleague.
- Lift your screen level so that it is in the same line as your eyes.
- Watch what you eat while staring at the screen. Make sure to avoid unhealthy food items.
- To reduce eye strain, blink often and keep them off the monitor for a few seconds frequently.
- Above all, if you are parenting a kid or teen, set an example first so that your kids will follow your good habits.
When to See a Doctor?
If you or your kid fail to curb screen time despite health problems, seek immediate medical help. It could be due to underlying health problems.
Want to Know More?
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