If you are like many computer users you will have experienced dry eyes from staring at your computer for too long. This is similar to the brain fuzz you get when you’ve sat down and watched The Crown box sets all in one go! You may have even found that your head and neck aches after too much computer time. Experts now attest that screen time is not just leaving us lethargic, but also it’s affecting our health in other ways too.
Problems for Children
Most children now seem to be hooked up to an electronic device most of the time – be it an Xbox, iPad or smartphone. You will often find them chatting across social media platforms such as Facebook, SnapChat and Twitter. Most children now spend on average 3 hours a day watching television, especially with catch up services.
Children are much more sensitive to electronic simulation and this takes its toll on their developing minds and bodies. Increased screen time has seen an increase in mood, sleep and mental issues including:
1. Lack of healthy restorative sleep
2. Aroused nervous system
3. Reduced physical activity levels with increased obesity
4. Depleted mental reserves
5. Reduced emotional development
6. Sensory overload
An American study recently discovered after testing 500 sixteen-year-olds that spend more than two hours a day using computers and other digital devices that they had higher insulin levels in their system than those who spent less time in front of a screen or electronic device.
Insulin plays a vital role in your metabolism and your blood sugar levels. If insulin becomes too high, your body ignores it and becomes less efficient in absorbing glucose and so doesn’t produce as much energy. This turns most of what you then eat straight into fat.
Almost all digital screens are backlit and emit a blue light. Apple recently in their 9.3 IOS added a night mode which reduces this blue light, but it is still present just in a smaller dose. This blue light has been proven to suppress melatonin which switches off your body clock and causes that feeling of wakefulness when you need to be nodding off. This can cause depression, hormone imbalance and according to a study brain inflammation.
So What Can You Do?
We recommend reading our article on how technology damages your sleep and doing the following each day:
1. Make sure you take daily exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes – this could literally be walking to the shops and back without your car!
2. Switch your devices off after 9pm or at least two hours before you go to bed.
3. Schedule times you reply to emails so people know you’re not available 24/7.
4. Limit the time your children are allowed to play on their devices (and tell them it’s for their own good).
5. Spend one day a week away from digital devices and unplug.
At OJE we develop software which means you spend less time on screens but get more done based on enhanced user experience backed up by research, streamlined processes, the ability to work when and how you want to and to share information quickly and securely with the right people at the right time.