Is too much screen time degrading your mental health?

An excess of screen time have a negative impact on one's mental health, this is how to mitigate the damage.

social media mental health screen time
© Nathana Rebouças/unsplash
social media mental health screen time

As the workplace has become ever so reliant on technology, screen usage has become ubiquitous across many careers. With the prevalence of social media and video content, screen usage has been extended for entertainment, scrolling and browsing. This amounts to many people having screen time overwhelmingly monopolize their day and attention. Research has shown that adults are not immune to the negative impacts of screen time, on the contrary, device dependency can have many negative influences on the quality of life of many.

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The negative effects


Constant exposure to blue light from screens can disturb circadian rhythms. Light can highly disorganize the body’s natural clock and lead to heightened state of alertness at night when the body should be winding down. Phones, tablets and computers have made their way into bedrooms and are oftentimes used until the moment one goes to bed. This can be highly harmful as it is recommended to stop using screens at least 60 minutes before sleeping and keeping screen usage under 2 hours after work, according to Reid Health.

Screen time and sedentary lifestyle

There is almost always a positive correlation between screen usage and a sedentary life. The more we sit staring at screens the less likely we are to be physically active. This lack of physical activity can be detrimental to the body and could have psychological ramifications that compound with the other psychological effects screens have, thereby creating a vicious cycle of issues that can become difficult to escape.

Psychological effects

As you are not sleeping well, and your life is becoming increasingly sedentary, social media becomes more of an escape. However, as you sit and watch a curation of people’s best moments you begin to wonder why your life doesn’t feel similar to that and this can cause the most troublesome of problems. When stuck in a cycle of comparing one’s reality with a carefully crafted montage on social media, space for anxiety and depression to seep through is created. A supposed way to escape becomes a source of stress and even dread as the self questioning and endless comparisons slowly turn into a sense of sadness and disappointment.

How to mitigate these effects

Screen time is not all equal and it is not all bad. However when these symptoms begin to set, one needs to exercise vigilance and self monitoring. The cycle can be broken through a series of controlled and organized decisions.

  • Go to your phone’s screen time section and understand the breakdown provided.
  • Understand the value gained from that time and sort out the activities that are needlessly eating away at your day.
  • Begin using this time surplus for physical activities, meditation or mindfulness exercises that will recenter your mind allowing you to effectively rest, recover and enjoy influx of positive chemicals produced by your brain.

Read more:

Try optimising your mental health with 'mental hygiene' tips

Mental health: Here are 7 signs of toxic positivity

Sources used:

Comprehensive Primary Care: Is Too Much Screen Time Impacting My Quality of Life?

Time: Experts Can’t Agree on How Much Screen Time Is Too Much for Adults

Reid Health: How Much Screen Time is Too Much for Adults?

Try optimising your mental health with 'mental hygiene' tips Try optimising your mental health with 'mental hygiene' tips