• Thursday, Sep 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 08:55 am

OP-ED: Glued to a screen

  • Published at 03:14 am July 7th, 2021
Screen Addiction

The pandemic has made us more dependent on our smartphones and tablets, but there is a dark side to that

During this lockdown, many of us have accepted watching TV, playing video games, or scrolling through social media for hours and hours as the new “normal.” However, while doing so, what we failed to realize was that excessive screen time has now literally started to work as a digital drug for our brains that can damage our mental and physical health if not kept in check. 

Screen addiction may provide users with a sense of temporary relief, but it only remains pleasant until the point when despite physical pain, such as headaches or strained eyes, users often find themselves unable to stop watching. In some cases, when deprived of screen time against their will, users even start exhibiting frustrating behaviour, which may be a sign of withdrawal. 

In light of WHO’s recent statement regarding excessive screen time, it appears that such abuse may adversely affect relationships with others and may also cause uncontrollable emotional outbursts, eventually making screen time take priority “over the basic functions, such as eating, sleeping, personal hygiene, and exercise.”

Before this new digital drug takes a greater toll on our lives, it is time we start taking steps to prevent such unpleasant consequences. From my personal experience, I can tell that the first step should be acknowledgment. 

Because, without accepting that such behaviour is in fact problematic, the user won’t be able to continue working on any sort of prescribed solution for too long. The next step can be a search for an alternative source of recreation in order to make the reduction of screen time less upsetting. For example, taking part in some interactive games with family members, or adopting a new hobby, such as paper crafting. 

Step 3 should be working on the surrounding environment. The user needs to make sure he stays in a room with access of plenty of daylight. Devices such as laptops and smartphones need to be charged in a different room. Logging out of Netflix and all such other accounts from all devices except the one in the living room is also an effective step in preventing binge-watching. 

Logging out of social media accounts every time after using it is a good idea too, since the necessity to enter the same ID-password again and again will automatically make the experience less pleasant. Finally, making changes to one’s phone’s screen can help too. Believe it or not, the icons on our phones are designed to look cute on purpose, so that we feel this compulsion to tap them every now and then. 

Hence, it is a good idea to turn the phone gray or simply switch to the dark theme. This way, the screen of the phone will appear less attractive when looked at. It is also good to keep only the most important apps on the screen and remove the rest. 

According to WHO, children under 24 months should not be allowed screen time at all, and for children between the ages two and four, it should be kept limited to one hour only. Those who are above this age range should also be allowed with only as much as needed for maintaining a healthy balance between online and offline activities. 

Screen addiction in recent days has become a threat as real as Covid-19. If we still keep denying the harm done by it, even after the WHO’s warning statement, another pandemic may not be too far away.

Atia Amana Azizee is currently working as a part-time faculty for University of London international Programs at BAC Law Study Centre; and also serving as full-time Principal Officer at Law & Recovery Division in National Bank Limited.

Facebook 333
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail