It’s no surprise that during this time of self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been spending considerably more time on their devices. Whether it be a lack of academic, social, or professional obligations, our time seems to be consumed by our screens. While it’s completely understandable that screen time has increased, it’s important to know what exactly this means for your mind, your body, and your overall well-being.
According to Psychology Today, many people underestimate the amount of time they spend on their devices. Those two minutes of mindless scrolling on social media throughout the day can accumulate into hours of screen time per week. A Singaporean health and wellness website, Active Health, says “the physical and psychological issues that could emerge due to an over abundance of screen time include physical strain on eyes and body, sleep deprivation, increased risk of obesity, loss of cognitive ability, impaired socializing skills, weakened emotional judgement and lower self-esteem”. With that being said, the substance of what you are scrolling through can also dictate how much mental and emotional distress you experience. If you spend your time on your screen wisely, there is great potential for self growth and self discovery. In contrast, if you spend your time scrolling through frivolous content and unrealistic images on social media, you may begin to see those negative cognitive patterns crop up.
There are numerous ways to ensure that you are using your screen time wisely and not mindlessly scrolling through social media. Quarantine is a great time to branch out of your comfort zone and try new things. Reading books and listening to podcasts are both great ways to learn new information and entertain yourself without looking at any devices. In addition, regular exercise and proper nutrition are always a great way to stay happy and healthy. Safely spending time with friends and family can ease the anxiety that many feel during these uncertain times. Before you pick up your phone or tablet, think about how you’re spending your time and what ways you can use this time of isolation to come out better than before.