Is too much screen time having a negative impact on our health?

The pandemic has resulted in people using screens more often – but impact has it had?

WHETHER it’s via phone, laptop, tablet, or TV, we spend most of our waking hours staring at our screens.

Since the pandemic hit, this has only worsened as we were asked to work from home. Adults and children have both been affected by this, and many have felt that it could have a negative impact on theirs and their children’s health.

A twitter poll revealed that 50% of SR News readers spend 10+ hours in front of a screen, 46.4% spend between 5 and 10 hours, but only 3.6% of our readers spend between 1 and 5 hours.

Specsavers coined the term ‘coronavision’ to explain eye strain during lockdown and have noticed a demand for blue-light glasses, to deal with too much screen time. They also conducted research which suggested eye strain conditions can be linked to screen use.

Andrew Garvey, Ophthalmic Director at Specsavers Sunderland, said: “Our eyes are not designed to be fixed on a single object for a long period of time. When we focus on our screens, especially smaller format laptops, tablets or smart devices, eyes become stressed and strained. They may feel uncomfortable, sore, tired, and as if they are itching or burning. You may also be experiencing from blurred vision and headaches too.”

He added: “In Sunderland, eye strain has seen a spike during Covid-19 restrictions as our lifestyles have changed.”

Psychology experts have explained that although too much screen time can lead to a lack of focus and increased distractibility, it can have positive effects too, including being beneficial to brain development.

Dr Vanessa Parson, Senior Lecturer in Psychology said: “Our brains are constantly developing in response to environmental stimuli, and this is particularly pertinent in childhood while our brains are continuing to develop.”

She added: “We know that significant amounts of screen time have the potential to reduce impulse control and change the way we attend to things, however this has more to do with parallel uses of technology rather than specifically watching a particular screen.”

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