‘‘Screen time’’, when you hear of this word, what comes to your mind? Does it mean just staring at your devices constantly or constantly surfing the net? According to Wikipedia, screen time is the amount of time a person spends daily using devices that have screens such as smartphones, television, and video games. In this 21st century, as a result of advancement in technology, there has been a major increase in the amount of time people spend online, either they are surfing the net to garner information or connecting with new people, or even as much as binge-watching their favorite series on whatever entertainment platform they use.
Over the past few months, we may have seen people constantly advocating about “ Mental health’’ whether through campaigns, blog articles, or even in movies. So, What is mental health?, According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
How does screen time affect mental health?
Several studies carried out in various countries have shown or suggested that there is increased usage of digital devices among adolescents and adults and this is due to the easy availability of these devices.
Due to the increased consumption of content from digital devices, there have been various negative effects on the health of an individual, and mental health is not left out.
Excessive screen time has been shown to cause sleep deprivation, this is because the blue light emitted from the screen affects the production of melatonin(sleep hormone) in our body. This results in a lack of quality sleep which causes difficulty in coping with minor stresses of everyday life.
According to Harvard Health, Sleep problems may increase the risk of developing certain mental illnesses.
Increased screen time is also regarded as a risk factor for depression and suicide especially in adolescents.
In order to promote positive mental health, we need to reduce the amount of time we spend scrolling through our phones, watching a movie, and playing games.
How can we reduce screen time?
- Set a time limit for the daily use of your smartphones, televisions, and video games.
- Switch off your phone at least one hour before bedtime, this reduces the emission of blue light you are exposed to before sleeping.
- Engage in quality face-to-face interaction with friends and family.
- Engage in productive activities that don’t require digital devices. ( example:- reading the bible, newspaper, a self-help book.
We can’t underestimate the opportunities the online world has exposed us to but despite its advantages ( from connecting with new people around the globe to getting a mouth-watering job offer), it also has its challenges.
This is why moderation is essential in everything we do so as not to be in danger of falling into temptation, bringing strange diseases upon ourselves. The Word of God said in Philippians 4:5, Let your moderation be made known unto all men, the Lord is at hand.