GYM VLOG #9
Author: Julia Dulgerova
We used to use screens purely for research, communication, and emergencies. But the world we live in today has greatly changed.
It’s often we walk through grocery stores and see toddlers with a screen shoved in their face, or a crying baby who is calmed by their mothers phone. Teenagers can’t catch a break from things like Snapchat and Instagram and even their parents can’t get enough of Facebook and the news. Technology is all around it and honestly there’s no escaping it, but our health is being greatly damaged.
Screen time is damaging to people of all ages no matter if they are children or adults. Children are losing their ability to be imaginative and creative and this happens because they aren’t allowed to be bored. In boredom is when ideas come and creativity starts to develop, but children are constantly seeking entertainment. Even as a teen, I can admit that if I’m bored I will often resort to watching tv or scrolling instagram, but what we need to be doing in times of boredom is honestly going outside and appreciating what’s around us. As I mentioned in prior blog posts, we often get the greatest ideas in the shower because that’s when we are forced to be away from our technology. In the shower our brain is allowed to just roam around in our thoughts, unlike the rest of the day when we are constantly being stimulated with what’s around us or technology.
Screens are also extremely detrimental to our health and can cause severe issues. Watching tv often leads to eating snacks, binge watching shows which is followed by binge eating, less sleep, and the end result is weight gain. Following this pattern can lead to obesity.
Staring at our phones can cause stained eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches along with poor posture which leads to chronic neck\k, shoulder, and back pain.
The blue light of screens increases sleeping issues because of the effect on the circadian rhythm. The blue light from digital devices actually suppresses the production of the hormone melatonin which is sleep promoting. This keeps us from sleeping well so it is extremely terrible to be on your phone before bed. Instead try reading some books or even coloring or journaling. Things like this will ultimately relax your mind. My personal favorite is to read a book before bed. I usually read for 30 minutes, and this does wonders for relaxing my mind slowly and preparing me for sleep.
Too much screen time can also lead to less efficient information processing which is terrible for people of all ages but especially for children and the elderly. I have observed that many parents will give their child food and a show to watch. I even remember a family friend whose baby switched to solid foods (so he was only a few months old) and he would not eat and throw a tantrum if he wasn’t watching a show. Such dependency for screens at such a young age is terrible and honestly frightening. If screen time is damaging for our brain’s cognitive function, imagine what that can do to a baby whose brain is still developing. There is truly such a thing as an addiction to screens and it shows all around us.
Tech addiction impacts the same part of our brains as drugs and alcohol and the signs of addiction to screens is very similar to signs of an alcoholic. People may point it out and say things like “get off your phone” but they find creative ways to lie and discretely use their phones. I’ll never forget the countless times teachers told students in my classes to put their phones down. When the teacher isn’t looking, they hold the phone in their lap and continue scrolling. It’s almost like phones are like security blankets and our dependency is out of hand.
Then things like AI come into the mix that basically remove the need for us to our brains actively at all. Of course, this then leads to the brain deteriorating through generations even more because kids will grow up not doing normal kid things like climbing trees, getting bruises, and playing outside for hours on end.
So what can you do to change this?
Start off by thinking about what you truly want in your life and in your future. Is your use of technology and addiction to screens stopping you or helping you achieve your goals? Most likely it’s stopping you from reaching your goals because you cannot stay focused when doing tasks or can’t be motivated to get off your phone. You can set rules for yourself in place, like to eat at least one meal a day without your screen, then 2, then all your meals. Take daily walks or exercise without your headphones plugged in and sleep with your phone in a different room. Then you can turn off notifications and set firmer boundaries. Phones are starting to have apps that track your screen time and can send you weekly updates about how you’re doing. I personally love this because if my phone tells me my screen time has increased by a certain percent, it makes me feel terrible but when it tells me it decreased, I’m ready to celebrate!
Screens are inevitably part of our lives but being conscious of how they are implemented into your life is crucial. Limiting your use of technology will help you think more clearly and relatively. Maybe you will regain your imagination and feel like a kid again, or you’ll spend more time around people socializing and making friends. Either way, less screen time is always better.
Here Are Some Resources That You Can Use To Learn More About The Damaging Effects of Screen Time And What You Can Do to Decrease Technology Time
Course on How to Reduce Electro- Pollution in Your Life
Book on Screens and Their Effect on Teens
Book on How Screens are Impacting New Generations
Amazon.com: iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us: 9781501152016: Twenge PhD, Jean M.: Books