By Wesley Gallagher
Most experts and parents are in agreement over the importance of limiting screen time for kids. But have you ever considered whether adults should have tech limits too?
Yes, we need technology for many daily activities — work, keeping up with family and friends, getting directions to the doctor’s office, etc. — but just because we are old enough to make our own schedule doesn’t mean we are immune to the endless pull of technology and the negative effects it brings with it.
The Effects of Too Much Technology
Tech is here to stay, and it certainly has its benefits. But social media, games, apps, and even smart phones are designed to be addictive. Because of this, it’s wise for us to understand the risks of technology usage. Below are just a few of the negative effects of too much technology:
- Physical Issues
Too much screen time can cause eye strain, poor posture, disrupted sleep, and low physical activity.
- Feelings of Isolation
While we may think technology has us more connected than ever, a 2017 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed otherwise. It found people who spent more than two hours a day on social media were twice as likely to feel socially isolated than those who used it less than 30 minutes a day. Emptiness and lack of connection from phone usage has especially impacted young people in recent years.
- Distraction and Lack of Focus
A study out of the University of Chicago found that the mere presence of your phone in the same room decreases your ability to concentrate. Its nearness even negatively affects cognitive functioning on tests.
Excessive tech and social media use is associated with a host of mental health struggles. A National Library of Medicine study involving young adults found that social media use was significantly associated with increased depression.
Is My Tech Usage a Problem?
If you’re wondering if your screen time is becoming a problem, there are certain things to look out for. While we could all probably use some curtailing of our tech habits, for some people, too much tech time can easily border on addiction.
If you are unable to control the amount of time you spend in front of the screen, you might want to rethink the way you interact with technology. And if you find your usage negatively affecting your life and relationships, that’s a definite sign that something needs to change.
Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to limit your tech usage, as well as a host of benefits to putting down that iPhone.
Tips for Setting Limits on Screen Time
So you’re ready to cut back; now what? Here are some tips for changing your relationship with technology.
- Establish Goals and Priorities – Don’t just think about what you shouldn’t do; think about what you’d like to gain from reducing your tech usage.
- Question Your Motive – Is social media an escape for you? Are you looking for connection? Do likes and comments boost your self-esteem? Getting to the bottom of why you’re stuck to the screen will help you figure out how to get unstuck from it.
- Consider a Tech Fast – Sometimes stepping back completely is the best first step toward changing your habits. Whether it be a few days or a few weeks, taking time to be fully off of technology can do wonders for resetting your habits.
- Be Realistic – As magical as it may sound to get a flip phone and trash your TV, you’re probably better off creating realistic limits for yourself. Technology isn’t evil, and it’s part of our everyday lives, so find the balance that works for you.
The Benefits of Limiting Screen Time
You probably already know all the better things you could be doing than staring at a screen, but you might be surprised to learn just how beneficial tech limits can be to your well-being. The following are just a few of the benefits of limiting screen time:
- Increased Focus
Surrounded by televisions, computers, phones, and other devices, it’s no shock that we often suffer from technology overstimulation. By giving our brains a break from screen time, we can actually train them to focus for longer than the couple of seconds they are used to.
- Better Sleep
Screens mess with our sleep. Not only do we often eschew bedtime in favor of Instagram reels, but the light from our screens disrupts our natural circadian rhythms. Keeping tech out of the bedroom, and even lowering usage during the day, can lead to more restful nights.
- More Creativity
With the increased focus and cognitive functioning you gain from putting your phone down, creativity will start flowing more freely.
This is pretty self-explanatory. When we silence the siren call of our devices, we can be more present where we are physically, with those who may be sitting right in front of us.
How The Meadows Malibu Can Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with technology addiction or any of the negative effects of too much technology usage, The Meadows Malibu is here to help. Our exclusive, boutique-style center offers a range of individualized treatment options in a private, serene environment. Reach out today to get started on the road to healing.