Increased Screen Time and Possible Outcomes

Since the rise of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that reached  Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) in early March of 2020, people have been requested to limit in-person contact, limit social distance, and restrain from large group gatherings. Within the United States, there have been multiple orders varying from state to state and even countrywide to guide an individual’s everyday lives. In these cases, everyone at one point has been restricted by stay-at-home orders and non-essential businesses have been temporarily shut down. This has created increased time spent in front of electronic screens in our homes.

Screen time from computers, T.V.’s, cell phones, tablets, etc. are, “…integrated into our daily lives…” according to Verywell Family covering American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations. During the COVID-19 pandemic,  people are using these technologies in a variety of situations and staring at screens. Employees are in zoom meetings with work colleagues and people are scrolling on social media to pass time or maybe playing their favorite video game. These are a few ways people are spending time in front of screens. 

There are multiple concerns that come with sacrificing hours on electronic devices. Verywell Family says that “…technology can be a valuable component of learning. But, some kids are growing dependent on their devices.” Education came to a halt during this pandemic. Some parents, guardians, and teachers had to take on roles they were not prepared for. Many students from all grade levels, K-12 and university/college, were forced to learn remotely. This required students to utilize technology for their education during the pandemic. The May Recreation Equipment & Design, L.P. claims, “…studies show that too much screen time can have a negative impact on children. Their brains can actually change, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.” 

Brain development is just the beginning of the list of reasons why people should step away from the screen. Eyesight can also be impacted depending on the screen itself, lighting in the room and other factors to bring strain to the eyes. According to the Bausch + Lomb, which specializes in vision and eye health, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) can be diagnosed professionally but may exhibit the following symptoms: Eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck, and shoulder pain. WebMD addresses CVS saying, “Research shows that between 50% and 90% of people who work at a computer screen have at least some symptoms.”

The Better Health Channel wrote an article on additional dangers of sedentary lifestyles that can be associated with screen use writing that, Sitting too much can disrupt posture and cause mental health issues like depression and anxiety and has links to diabetes and cancer. A few ways people can try to avoid symptoms and creating health issues associated with screen time are taking breaks, adjusting the lighting in the room, sitting on a comfy seat, and setting limits on screen time.

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