The Negative Effects of Too Much Screen Time

Isabella Galvez, Writer

The lockdown COVID-19 brought forced everyone around the world to isolate themselves in their homes.  Without in-person interaction, we were forced to rely on the power of technology.  Now work, school, and communication heavily relies on electronics, but not many are aware the negative effects too much technology can have.

 

In Aug. 2020, a survey of 899 parents was conducted by Morning Consult to see how many hours children were spending on devices.  Before the pandemic around 60% of children were spending 2-3 hours with their devices.  According to the data, that time has increased to at least 4-5 hours since the pandemic started, which exceeds the one-hour limit the American Heart Association recommends.  

 

School is now added to those hours children spend with devices because of distance learning.  Downey sophomore William Offer shares how much of his day is taken up by electronics.  

 

“I usually spend about 10-11 hours looking at a screen daily: 5 from Zoom, 1-2 for homework, and 4 from after school,” Offer said.  “I spend most of that four hours playing video games on my TV or watching videos on my computer.”

 

A reason many people might not think to lower their screen time is because they do not know the effects it can have on your body.  Minor side effects of excessive screen time are headaches, neck pain, dry eyes, and sleepiness.  However, these small effects can eventually lead to more serious problems like near/farsightedness, astigmatism, and other vision problems.  Many people experience these symptoms, but are unaware of what is causing them.  Sophomore Taleen Alkhateeb shares how she’s noticed her screen time has affected her.  

 

“I look at my phone for hours a day because it’s the only thing that can really keep me entertained during quarantine,” Alkhateeb said.  “I am not physically affected by being on my screen longer, but I always feel like I have ruined a perfect day…  And I feel stressed.”

 

With people getting vaccinated and case numbering lowering, more counties have allowed some extent of in-person learning for K-12 schools.  Junior Caroline Salas tells her hybrid experience and how it affects her screen time.  

 

“Hybrid learning has definitely lowered my screen time because I don’t have to use Zoom as much,” Salas said.  “Also, it makes me want to use my screen even less at home because I’ve been getting used to walking around and seeing things in person again.”

 

The American Optometric Association recommends taking breaks from electronics, having proper posture, and frequently blinking to lower the chance of having any vision-related problems devices cause.  Taking these recommendations along with lowering your screen time are proven to be beneficial to your mental and psychical health.