Adults need to Limit Screen Time, Too
Creatives: most of us have heard by now that pediatricians recommend limiting screen time in our little ones to help mold their growing minds. What you may or may not know or do is limit screen time for yourself, as well. I don’t have to tell you how prevalent glowing screens are in our daily lives- they are computers, tablets, phones, TVs and more- and we spend up to 75% of our waking hours looking at them. There are studies showing physiological effects of these activities such as posture and neck/back problems, eye strain, and more- I am here to tell you there is also a psychological impact!
Here are some of the problems with “screen time,” that you may or may not know about:
Screen time isn’t “real life.” You aren’t interacting physically with others (a psychological and sociological need) you aren’t physically accomplishing something (a self esteem need and creative need) you may or may not be being creative (a psychological need).
Screen time isn’t “natural.” You are likely inside, seated. You are probably not outside, breathing fresh air, using your body, experiencing natural body rhythms of the day, touching, smelling, or tasting. The medical community recommends disengaging from screens at least 2 hours prior to going to bed as it interferes with the body’s natural ability to fall asleep.
Screen time isn’t “mindful.” You aren’t grounded, experiencing or aware of time passing. You aren’t “living” as a human biological organism is meant to “live.” You are not participating in the present moment or engaging with your surroundings.
Screen time isn’t “nurturing.” You are taking time away from self care, you are taking time away from other productive activities and goals like cooking, fitness, housework, and spending time with loved ones. Too often screen time is comparing out on social media, spying and pretending and watching other lives in entertainment- it is outward not inwardly focused, it is fleeting and not long lasting- you are not investing in yourself.
Need more convincing? Try this exercise (on paper!): Spend five minutes on a screen- whether you are browsing the web, flicking through social media pages, watching TV or gaming- then stop and reflect on your experience. How did you feel during? How do you feel after? How FULFILLED and ENGAGED in your life do you feel? Give that last one a numerical value. Repeat the exercise doing something without a screen- take a walk, talk to a friend, cook something, meditate. How did you feel during? How do you feel after? How FULFILLED and ENGAGED in your life do you feel? Assign a numerical value. Compare your notes. What did you find out?
Want to make reducing screen time a goal for 2018? Have fears, concerns or obstacles related to the amount of screen time in your life? Let’s talk about it.
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.