The Benefits to Reducing Screen Time
Mobile phones, TV screens, computer monitors and laptops have become an integral part of our lives as we know it. From working the regular day job, to socialising with your friends or even winding down at the end of the day with some Netflix, chances are that you probably getting a lot of screen time. Lonergan Research data found that the average Australian spends more hours glued to a screen than spent sleeping. This amounts to an incredible 9.4 hours per day or approximately 143 days per year spent in front of a screen. And it doesn’t look like this is going to change any time soon with technology becoming more and more embedded in our lives.
These dangerous levels of screen time may be unavoidable at times but there is no denying the negative consequences that we personally experience because of this.
Spending more than 9 hours a day looking at our screens can have an awful effect on our body postures and cause excessive strain on our eyes. For those of you who may work an office job or work from home, especially given the current ongoing pandemic, chances are that many of you often slump in chairs. This is something that the team at Luminta are definitely guilty of too. Couple this with the bending of our backs and necks just to check our phones throughout the day and just like that, ongoing back and neck pain has been unlocked.
The concentration that we dedicate to our screens is shown to reduce the frequency of eye blinking. When we blink less, the moisture in our eyes can dry up really quickly and can cause irritability, redness and blurred vision. Even if this doesn’t happen to you, it is fair to say that it is a less than ideal way to treat our eyes.
Blue light which is emitted by our mobile phones and other devices can also cause a delay in the production of melatonin which is crucial to aid us getting to sleep. Screen time can also cause increased alertness and push back our regular sleep cycle when used in the minutes leading up to our bedtimes. Less sleep and feeling more sluggish in the morning after waking up are a couple of direct consequences which I am sure just about all of us have personally experienced.
Since the invention of mobile phones, we have developed an ever increasing sense of attachment to our pocket screen devices. From emails, to Instagram, TikTok and messenger apps, the average smartphone user may receive up to 50 notifications or more each and every day. As much as we don’t like to admit it, checking our phone every time we hear a notification sound has become a big feature in our present society. Imagine 50 times during the day where you interrupt yourself from your daily work, study or leisure time and it’s pretty easy to establish a connection between screen time and the breaking of our focus and concentration.
When we become less focused on the things that we love and enjoy, the connection that we have with our passions and the important people in our lives will inevitably become less deep. For example, you and your mates have organised to catch up and go on a night out together. Constantly checking your phone over the course of the night out is not a good look and can come off as quite rude, especially if someone is trying to communicate with you directly. It is an easy way to become more distracted, less attentive and disinterested in the events of the night, while you yourself may feel or become more isolated as you connect more with the screen and less with the people and environment around you.
So with all of that being said, it can be hard to drag ourselves away from the screens but here are some useful ways to actively limit our screen time for the better.
1. Ban Phones and Screens from Your Study Space and Bedrooms
Removing distractions like phones can help to improve productivity when working through uni assignments while also helping to ensure that your mind can relax itself before getting a good night of sleep. This can be done by simply ditching phones from the bedroom altogether. Instead of using your phone to set alarms for each morning, it might be time to go back to using an alarm clock so that there are no excuses for having your phone in the bedroom at any time whatsoever.
2. Plan Family and Friend Based Activities That Take You Away From the Screens
Dedicating time each and every week towards organising and holding social events with friends and family can be a great way to get everyone off the screens. Activities like hikes or board game nights are not only great ways to socialise and build close relationships, it also helps to avoid screen time.
3. Only Check Messages and Emails at Certain Parts of the Day
Putting a system in place where you only check messages and emails for a brief period of time each day can help to avoid excessive use of your digital devices. For example, after having breakfast each morning, set aside 30 minutes each day to read and reply to messages or emails and then put the phone away for the rest of the day.
4. Limit Access to Social Media
We have found that limiting our social media use can be a great way to stay focused on staying productive to achieve daily goals while also reducing our screen time at the same time. If you are someone who may get regular urges or compulsions to check social media which consequently turns out to be a mindless hour long scroll sesh through Instagram or Facebook, eliminating the temptation can be an effective way to counter this. A good idea could be to delete them completely from your phone so that they can only be accessed from other devices or by putting a time limit on how long these apps can be used for each day.
5. Consider if it is Necessary to Take Your Phone With You When Leaving the House
Although phones can come in handy in just about all circumstances when you leave the house, it is still worth considering whether or not it is actually necessary to take your phone with you. If you are going for a short stroll around the block or grabbing a couple of items from the supermarket, have a serious think about whether your phone needs to come with you. If it does, you could still choose to leave it in the car so that in emergencies, you can still access your phone. Again, finding ways to detach yourself from the screen where the temptation is eliminated is an effective way to kick an unhealthy habit.
We hope that that this has helped you to become more aware of the dangers of having too much screen time and some effective ways to make sure that it is enjoyed in moderation as much as possible.
We would also love to hear your suggestions to reduce screen time as well! Feel free to leave a comment here or send us a message directly via Instagram or Facebook.