It would be an understatement to say that we spend the majority of our days looking at screens. Most people can’t avoid their screen time because of the nature of their jobs. However, our idea of entertainment and relaxation also corresponds to screens now. People know that it is bad for their health, but most choose to underestimate it.
How bad can excessive screen-time be? Let’s find out.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS ON HEALTH?
Too much screen time can have several long term effects on human health.
Some of these are general effects that everyone is aware of. These include eye strain, poor eyesight, headaches, and poor sleep. It can also lead to body pain that includes but is not limited to the neck, shoulder, and back pain.
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However, health effects that most people don’t know about include tendonitis and carpal tunnel. Tendonitis is the condition in which the tissue connecting muscle to bone becomes inflamed. This tissue is called tendon, hence the name tendonitis. It can affect the elbow, wrist, finger, thigh, and other parts of the body. Carpal tunnel is the condition that can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. This occurs when the median nerve is squeezed or compressed. It is one of the major nerves to the hand.
It can also lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which has been linked to heart disease, obesity and other problems. A sedentary lifestyle is one that involved little to no physical activity.
HOW MUCH SCREEN TIME IS ACCEPTABLE?
There is no conclusive study on the exact amount of screen time that can lead to adverse health effects for adults. It is different for different people. However, some precautions can be taken to minimize the effects, if any.
These steps include:
- Take a break every 20 minutes to look at a faraway object for 20 seconds
- No backlit screens for an hour before sleeping
- Maintain correct posture
- Learn how to do “chair yoga”
- Stretching breaks every hour
However, limits have been set for children according to their ages.
- < 18 months – no screen time except video chats
- 18 – 14 months – high-quality media sources with supervision
- 2 – 5 years – at maximum an hour a day
These limits have been set by The American Academy of Pediatrics.