The Effects of Too Much Screen Time

Taylor Meister, Staff Writer

In today’s world of virtual school, Zoom meetings, and Netflix, it’s hard to find some time away from the screens. Instead of going to school and interacting with their teachers and peers, students are sitting in front of a computer screen for most of the day. Rather than the recommended two hours of screen time a day, most high school students are spending at least seven hours per day staring at a screen.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have closed and students have moved to online remote learning. Kids are spending hours at a time sitting and staring at a computer screen. This often causes what is known as “computer vision syndrome.” Dry and strained eyes, blurred vision, and headaches are among the symptoms. A quick and easy way to reduce the strain and impact on your eyes from too much screen time is to use the 20-20-20 rule. After every 20 minutes of screen time, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Following this rule can help relieve some of the side effects of too much screen time.

One of the dangers of too much screen time is the blue light that most digital devices give off. Blue light can cause dry and strained eyes, and it can make it more difficult to sleep at night. Blue light stimulates the brain and tricks it into thinking it’s daytime, which can be a problem when you’re trying to go to sleep. For these reasons, blue light glasses have recently become a popular purchase. These glasses block the blue light released from your device, which can prevent strained eyes and headaches as well as make it easier to sleep at night. It also may be helpful to avoid using screens a few hours before bedtime or install an app on your device to filter blue light wavelengths.

Sitting in front of a computer all day can lead to poor posture, which can cause shoulder and neck pain. Sitting and staring at a screen for long periods of time also means students have less time to do things that are good for their well-being, such as exercise. Studies have linked increased screen time to weight gain due to lack of movement and exercise. 

Besides the physical effects of too much screen time, research has shown that too much screen time also has a variety of negative impacts on mental and emotional well-being. Digital devices can be addictive, which can reduce the amount of human interaction and communication. This can harm social skills and make it harder for kids to make friends. Studies have shown that people with high daily screen times are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression and have a lower psychological well-being. 

Most people have had an increased screen time over the past few months, and there’s no question that it can have harmful impacts. However, there are some things we can do to reduce of prevent these effects. Among other things, using blue light glasses and installing a colored light-filtering app can help our eye health and help us get better sleep. Even better, we can put down the phone and go outside for a bit. If we make a few small lifestyle changes, we can help protect ourselves from the harmful impacts of too much screen time.