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Dear Screen Addict, here is why you must break Screen Addiction & Limit Screen Time
Just a few decades ago,
We were concerned about various teen problems such as teen drinking and driving, teen pregnancy etc. And no one is implying that we’re not still worried about these things.
However, there is no denying that we are facing another issue of vast proportion right now.
As you may have guessed, that issue is too much screen time and – screen addiction!!!
No doubt you’ve heard the common saying about an excess of anything being bad. We cannot neglect how this holds true in the case of screen addiction in both children and adults.
Though there are many benefits of technology, one of its main drawbacks is the way it makes us all so dependent upon it.
Passing time has become way easier for us. This is because all we have to do is pick up a tablet or phone and submerge ourselves into a world where we kind of’ forget about the reality.
Studies have found that there is a link between too much screen time and some rather unhealthy consequences.
What is Screen Addiction?
‘Addiction’ is actually a condition in which a person craves/depends on a particular activity or substance.
In the case of screen addiction, a person craves screen time and eventually gets it in the form of social media, smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming.
Using technology is beneficial (for instance, right now you are reading an informative article on a screen) but problems start to appear when the usage exceeds a certain limit.
Signs of Electric Screen Addiction
When it comes to screen addiction, there is more than just spending a number of hours in front of a screen.
There are also a few other signs that can indicate whether or not someone in your life (like your kid) is a screen addict.
You can search for these signs in yourself as well since so many of us now rely heavily on technology:
Not being able to control screen use
There is a loss of interest in other activities besides just playing games or watching videos on YouTube etc.
Less socializing is one of the main signs to look for. If your child is bringing a phone everywhere he/she goes, even the dinner table, then it could be problematic
If your kid is still talking about games or latest technology even when he/she is not using smartphones, tablets or playing game, this could be a sign of addiction
Showing signs of withdrawal. This means showing frustration when TV is turned off or not allowed to play games
Intolerant behavior is also one of the main signs that can indicate screen addiction
The mood improves when in front of the screen and the opposite happens when away from the screen
Side Effects of Screen Addiction
Both adults and children can have side effects of too much screen time. Various studies have been conducted to observe the behavioral changes that can occur due to excessive use of electronic devices.
Here are a few of the side effects that you need to know about:
Your Brain Restructures Due to Excessive Use of Electronic Devices
Neuroimaging research revealed that excessive screen time can damage your brain. According to Phycology Today, spending a lot of time in front of the screen can cause a restructuring of the brain.
As if that’s not scary enough, they reported atrophy (loss of volume or shrinkage) in grey matter areas  as well.
It is worth mentioning that your brain mainly consists of grey matter and white matter (responsible for message transmission between neurons).
In other words, too much screen time results in the shrinkage of grey matter and causes problems with white matter and its ability to communicate.
As a result, poor cognitive performance and craving for more screen-time start to appear.
Increased Chances of Getting Eye Strain and Computer Vision Syndrome
The medical community recognizes that excessive computer time can cause damage to human eyes. Electronic screens emit blue light that can damage the retinal cells.
It is imperative to comprehend that long-term exposure to blue-violet light can cause retinal cell death and can eventually lead to Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) .
Electronic devices can play a pivotal role in acquiring computer vision syndrome (blurred vision, headaches, etc.) and digital eye strain .
Given the fact that the use of electronic devices is increasing more than ever, it is not a big surprise that eye-related problems are more widespread.
A bit of good news is that there are some screen protectors and special glasses than can help filter these rays if you have to use a computer most of the day for your job. But when work is done, get outside and away from the screens.
Metabolic syndrome is a bunch of various conditions that can occur together such as high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, extra body fat around the waist etc.
It is dangerous to human health because of the lethal combination of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Given the fact that being in front of a computer encourages an inactive or sedentary lifestyle, chances of acquiring metabolic syndrome are quite high.
There’s a Connection
Even a 2008 study found a pretty conclusive connection between metabolic syndrome and screen time .
According to the study, inactive lifestyle due to excessive time in front of an electric screen can cause metabolic syndrome and it is especially important to reduce this time for adolescents.
Just read our post on sitting disease and you will notice a link between increased computer usage and problems associated with prolonged sitting.
Screen Time Disturbs Your Sleep Patterns
Studies have found that time in front of an electric screen at night can cause hindrance in falling asleep and it can also lead to sleep deprivation and cognitive stimulation.
In addition, it increases the electrical activity in your brain and causes the neurons to move around (that basically means it prevents you it results in prevents from getting a peaceful sleep).
On top of all this, the brain naturally creates the hormone called as melatonin that is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
The natural production of melatonin is affected by the use of electronic devices during bedtime. This gives an impression to your body that you are not prepared for sleep.
The blue light emitted by the screens give an impression to your brain that it is still day-time and this results in reduced production of melatonin. Hence, a person starts experiencing issues such as sleep deprivation and insomnia.
According to scientists from Harvard Medical School, specific wavelengths of lights are emitted by screens of electronic devices and these wavelengths of light are responsible for suppressing the production of melatonin in the brain. .
Other Harmful Effects of Screen Addiction
Less human interaction leads to less learning opportunities for children
Electronic media can have major side effects on children’s health, behavior, and school performance 
Overexposure to screens can lead to less cognitive development in kids
Excessive time spent on a computer screen can lead to bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, attachment issues etc. These problems can occur in children and adults
Overuse of screens leads to an inactive lifestyle. Bear in mind that sedentary lifestyle is one of the major reasons behind obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes
It can also lead to poor posture, neck and shoulder pain
Sitting for hours in front of screens can lead to various heart diseases and even cancer
Tips on How to Break Screen Addiction (For Adults and Children)
What good would all this information be if we didn’t offer some suggestions to deal with it all?
So, in order to break screen addiction, here are a few effective tips for you and your children, (at the rate we’re going, this could soon include the family dog -love the above pic.)
Tip 1: Start Slow
One of the most common mistakes made by people is that they try too hard to break their screen addiction Just keep in mind that it took years to develop screen addiction, you cannot break it in just a few days.
Show patience and stay persistent, soon favorable results will come. For example, you could start incrementally decreasing time spent online.
Tip 2: Limit the usage
It is all about making a set of rules for your kids and yourself. Just make sure that you implement them in the right manner. For instance, allowing your child a screen time of 2-3 hours a day is enough for recreational purposes.
When it comes to you, get a small notebook and set small objectives such as using Facebook for not more than 1 hour a day or setting a specific time for it.
Consider stopping any computer usage by 8:00 pm so it won’t affect your sleep too much.
Tip 3: Establish a Tech-Free Zone in Your Home
This tip is quite effective and many parents recommend others try it as well. Simply set certain spaces or times in your home when using tech devices is completely forbidden.
You can start by ensuring that no one uses the phone during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Leave the phones in the car during church or other social events.
Just keep in mind that you have to follow the rules as well to set an example for your kids.
Tip 4: Set Targets that Are Achievable
There is no denying that setting objectives can be really helpful, but make sure that you set only those targets that you can achieve.
Reward yourself with a non-digital, but self-motivating activity or item when you reach your goals. Maybe have a chart and track your progress as a family. Then go enjoy a picnic at the park to treat yourselves for a job well done.
Tip 5: Go to Some Remote Place for a Change
This tip has helped many people in getting rid of screen addiction. Going to a hilly area or even camping creates a gap between you and technology.
This gap is quite helpful in digital detoxing. On top of all this, it also makes you realize that you can live without excessive screen time and there is so much out there for you to explore.
Tip 6: Be a Good Example
Parents and adults are getting as addicted as the kids and this makes it hard to stand your ground while breaking their addiction.
Let them see that you are not a screen addict too. Make sure they see you enjoying your time away from the computer.
Point out how much better you feel after taking a walk outside with the dog, or visiting with a friend. It may not seem like it immediately, but this will make an impression.
The Bottom Line
It goes without saying that technology is a great tool for acquiring knowledge and information, but it is the extent of usage that defines the line between good and bad.
Are you a screen addict? If so, now at least you’re aware that screen addiction can lead to some serious side effects. This is why it is so important to deal with it as early as possible.
With controlled usage, one can break screen addiction but then again, it comes down to how serious you are about it and how aware of the consequences you are!
Embrace an active lifestyle, start exercising and try to find to activities that encourage the movement of your body. Stay healthy and happy.
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