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As Coronavirus Cases Soar, So Does Our Screen Time

By Zosia Ridley

We all know that too much of anything can’t be good. Lately, because quarantine has hindered most from human interaction, most people are probably overdosing on screen time. Whether it's logging on to school every day or filling up free time within the seemingly endless days with social media, technological devices have become increasingly more prominent in our lives. On a daily average, teenagers are spending more than 7 hours on their screens while pre-teenagers average at about 5 hours, which exceeds much above the recommended 2 hours.


A recently published 2020 study totals the screen time individuals have, not including screen use when doing homework or any academically-related work. While our devices can be put to good use, such as connecting with friends and relatives and keeping up with the news, 50.1% of that time is spent on social media.


What does all this do to us? Why is this a problem?


Our bodies have a circadian rhythm or biological clock. Artificial sources of blue light emitted from our smart devices can interrupt this pattern and additionally cause dry eyes, inability to sleep, and headaches. During the day, when we need to be alert and focused, this natural clock does us great service. When it becomes dark, our bodies naturally create sleep hormones, like melatonin, and our body temperature drops in preparation for sleep. However, exposing ourselves to artificial light throughout the day disrupts our internal clock and consequently ruins our sleep schedule along with the other benefits that result from a good night's rest. Going through our day constantly on devices has a more negative and notable effect than we would imagine.


This pandemic has forced the world to make abrupt lifestyle changes. Some unhealthy habits, like our screentime intake, can inevitably hurt us in the current and long run. Especially towards growing adolescents, so much screen time during the day is damaging our physical and mental health. Isolation has pushed us to revert to other means of learning, connecting, and curing our boredom. Due to the pandemic, this already prevalent problem has now become a global staggering concern.







Sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/coronavirus-pandemic-drove-life-online-it-may-never-return-n1169956

https://www.rallyhealth.com/health/unexpected-effects-screen-time

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/03/24/screen-time-iphone-coronavirus-quarantine-covid/

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/29/health/common-sense-kids-media-use-report-wellness/index.html

https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/

https://www.livescience.com/53874-blue-light-sleep.html


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