Vital Signs: Limit your screen time

By Lily Firth
News Editor

No one can escape excessive screen time because it is necessary to function in today’s society. What is scary about this new norm is that it happened so quickly, leaving scientists scrambling to find if excessive screen time is dangerous to our health in the long run.

A large amount of screen time can restructure the matter of your brain’s grey and white matter, according to Psychology Today.

Looking at a screen for too long can damage your eyes. (Flickr)

“Too much screen usage seems to result in grey matter shrinkage, problems with white matter ability to communicate, a lot more cravings and general poorer cognitive performance,” according to Psychology Today.

Our eyes are also being harmed by too much screen time. Not only does blue light keep us up longer at night and throws off our sleep schedules, it could possibly be damaging our retinas and increasing eye strain.

Screen time also makes people more susceptible to Metabolic syndrome, which can be described as a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Scientists are more concerned about this problem in children, who are being introduced to screens so young that they never learn to enjoy running around and playing outside.

In 2008, there was a study that showed even if children exercised for a bit after binge watching TV, they were still at risk because the binge watching created a habit of sitting still for hours, and the small amount of physical activity could not counteract the child’s sedentary lifestyle, according to the Journal of Public Health.

There is also a debate on whether or not screen time is inhibiting the emotional development of kids, and that it may impact adults too. Too many simulated emotional connections through screens and not enough face-to-face interaction may impact your ability to process emotion properly, according to NPR.

Since excessive screen time is a relatively new phenomenon, research is still emerging and it is hard to get accurate information. However, one piece of advice remains clear — limit your screen time as much as possible.