In Britain the average person spends an eye-watering thirteen hours and two minutes a day looking at screens, this statistic means just over sixteen days of our month, and a total of 198 days every single year are lost to screen time!

It’s clear that Screens dominate our lives, from smartphones and tablets to laptops and television. We’re constantly surrounded by devices. Although technology brings numerous benefits with it, there is a growing issue surrounding the amount of time we spend looking at screens and the potential negative impact it has on our emotional and physical health and wellbeing. 

Screens can be enticing, they are a source of endless information, entertainment and social connections. We use them to scroll through social media feeds, binge watch our favourite shows and, most of the time, do our work. They have become an essential part of our everyday lives, but what are the consequences of this? 

Physical Health Impacts

  • A Lazy Lifestyle: Too much screen time can often lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Rather than going for a walk, playing your favourite sport or going to the gym, we spend hours sitting down looking at screens. This lack of movement can contribute towards a whole range of health problems including obesity, muscle soreness and cardiovascular issues.

  • Eye Strain: We all remember being told that if we watched too much television our eyes would go square. Although this isn’t exactly true, staring at a screen for extended periods of time can cause strain, dryness and irritation to your eyes. So much so, this is now referred to as “Computer Vision Syndrome” and can cause headaches, blurred vision and difficulty focusing.

  • Disrupted Sleep Patterns: All screens emit blue light which interferes with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle which causes your production of melatonin to dip. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep, therefore if you are on screens, especially before you go to bed this can disrupt your sleep and lead to insomnia. 

  • Mental Health Impacts

  • Increase in stress and anxiety: Comparing yourself to other people’s online personas and being bombarded with negative news articles everytime you go on your phone can lead to an increase in feeling stressed, anxious and even depressed

  • Lower cognitive function: An excessive amount of screentime, particularly for children and young teenagers can negatively affect their cognitive development. Even for adults, an increase in screen time can cause your attention span to decrease, as well as your memory and ability to concentrate.  

  • Isolation: Screens can often make you feel like you are connecting to people, as you have a constant source of communication, however studies have shown that it often leads to an increase in feeling lonely and socially isolated. This is because people often choose to socialise online, rather than face to face, leading them to feel detached from the people around them.

  • So what can you do to try and limit your screen time? 

  • Set yourself limits: set boundaries for yourself to try and limit your screen time outside of work. Designate specific times of the day for using your phone and try and prioritise being active, going outside and interacting with people face to face. 

  • Try a digital detox: Try and set yourself the goal of doing a regular digital detox. Give your mind a break from scrolling and try to do some offline activities, such as reading or getting outside so you can recharge.

  • Mindfully consume: A lot of online content and news can be quite distressing to consume. Try and be mindful about who you are following on social media and how their content makes you feel. If it doesn’t make you feel positive, then think about unfollowing them. 

  • Prioritise your sleep: Avoid using any electronics or screens at least an hour before bed. This will not only help you fall asleep faster but the quality of your sleep will improve drastically.

    Final Thoughts:

    At Belu Life we try our best to promote a healthy and active lifestyle, however screen time is often overlooked as an issue due to it being a necessity in today's world. As I type this blog on my laptop, I realise it would be impossible to completely cut down on our screen time. However, by following and implementing the helpful tips above, we can definitely find a better balance in our everyday lives.

    April 18, 2024 — Bethan Trussell