Before you continue to read this, take a moment to observe those around you (if you happen to be in a public space). Chances are, you see at least one person engrossed in his or her phone. Likely, it’s more than just one person. And while most studies about screen time are focused upon its affect on children and their development, it’s important to note that screen time can have negative effects in adults as well.
There is no denying that an individual’s screen time has increased exponentially in the past decade. In fact, a 2014 Nielsen report found that adults log a total of about 11 hours of screen time a day. Below are various ways your health may be negatively affected by spending too much time tied to a screen.
- More screen time = more weight
As little as two hours of TV a day can increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease in adults. There are likely several factors to blame, including a sedentary lifestyle, less sleep, and generally bad eating habits when engrossed into a screen.
- Vision issues
Looking at a screen for extended periods of time can cause “computer vision syndrome.” The symptoms: strained, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.
- Chronic neck and back pain
Poor posture when using screens combined with can cause chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain.
- Poor sleep
Studies link heavy computer and smartphone use to increased sleeping issues. The blue light from digital devices suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, keeping us from having restful sleep.
- Impaired cognitive function
Cognitive imaging studies have found that spending too much screen time will lead less efficient information processing.
- You’re likely to die earlier
Studies have indicated that spending significant time with screens — whether it’s a TV, computer or tablet, lowers your cardiovascular health and increases your mortality risk.