Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Screen Time Can Affect Your Health

Photo by Jordan

It’s almost impossible to get away from the screen these days! We have work, computers, video games, social media, televisions, and let’s not forget our smart phones! Screen time is the amount of time spent using a device with a screen. Over the years, that time has increased dramatically, especially since the pandemic.

Adverse health risks associated with increased screen time:

  • Obesity-because of sedentary behavior while using the electronic devices, and this in turn can lead to other chronic illnesses
  • Chronic neck and back pain, poor posture
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Poor sleep-blue light emitted from digital screens interferes with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin in the body.
  • Physical strain to eyes. Remember, Take a screen break every 20 minutes for 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away(20-20-20 rule) to prevent eye strain
  • Impaired socializing skills

How much screen time is too much?

  • No screen time for kids younger than 18-24 months
  • Children ages 2 to 5 years-American Academy of Pediatrics recommends about 1 hour a day of high quality programming(such as Sesame Street) A study that began in 2018 by National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests, those that spent more than seven hours a day of screen time had thinning of the brain’s cortex that may impact critical thinking and reasoning.
  • Adults-less than 2 hours a day outside of work use

Tips to reduce screen time:

  • Engage in more physical activity-walks, work-outs
  • Play board games with the family, read books, build puzzles, legos, listen to music, cook
  • Set aside times to “un-plug” from electrical devices as a family
  • Keep some rooms screen-free