Screen Time and Your Mental Health
We live in a digital world, which comes with both benefits and disadvantages. It’s never been easier to meet new friends, even if we are unable to leave the house, and keeping up with the lives of loved ones who live far away is as simple as clicking a few buttons. However, the downsides of a digital world are equally as far-reaching. Read on for the mental health effects of being perpetually online.
Talking with friends and family or reading funny social media posts can make us smile, but what does constant connectivity do to our mental health? A 2017 study linked moderate to severe depression with adults who spend more than six hours a day online or watching television. Falling into the trap of replacing physical contact with interacting via a screen is a 21st-century phenomenon and one which may be detrimental to our mental health, as we lose real-world connectivity, taking us way from the physical relationships we have already formed.
Screen time, by its very nature, is a sedentary activity, and an inactive lifestyle is another factor in depression. It’s incredibly important to move around and to ensure we are not reliant on screens to do everything for us. For example, instead of ordering all our shopping online, we could take a short trip to the shops to buy a few things in-person.
Screen time does have its benefits, as we outlined at the beginning of this blog. We live in a society in which we can remain connected even when isolated, and screens are a lifeline in a world in which we fear lockdowns at any time. But we do need to remain connected to life beyond our phones by ensuring we take regular breaks from the screen. Instead of reaching for it first thing in the morning, we could get out of bed, switch on the radio and take a little time to settle into the day. Reading a book before bed instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or reading news articles that may leave us feeling upset or anxious can create better sleep habits. Keeping connections alive by implementing screen time alongside other forms of connectivity, such as clubs and existing relationships, is the key to achieving a healthy balance.