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Introduction

As technology continues to advance, the amount of time teenagers spend in front of screens has increased significantly. Whether it’s for educational or recreational purposes, the effects of screen time on teenagers are a matter of concern. In this blog post, we’ll explore the impact that screen time can have on UK teenagers and what they can do to minimize the potential negative effects.

What is Screen Time?

Before we dive into the effects of screen time, it’s important to understand what we mean by screen time. Screen time refers to the amount of time that an individual spends in front of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions. This includes time spent on social media, playing video games, watching television shows or movies, and using various apps.

Effects of Screen Time on Teenagers:

There are both positive and negative effects of screen time on teenagers. Let’s take a look at some of the potential negative effects first.

Lack of Physical Activity

Spending excessive amounts of time in front of a screen can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to a lack of physical activity. This can have detrimental effects on a teenager’s health, including obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Sleep Deprivation

Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by screens can interfere with a teenager’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which can have negative effects on their academic performance, mood, and overall health.

Poor Academic Performance

Spending too much time on electronic devices can also have a negative impact on a teenager’s academic performance. When teenagers spend more time on screens, they have less time to study, complete homework, and engage in extracurricular activities.

Social Isolation

While social media and online communication platforms can help teenagers stay connected with their friends, spending too much time on screens can lead to social isolation. This is because they may not have as much face-to-face interaction with their peers, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.

Cyberbullying

The internet can be a dangerous place for teenagers. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that takes place online, and it can have serious negative effects on a teenager’s mental health.

Addiction

Spending too much time on screens can lead to addiction, especially when it comes to social media and video games. This can lead to a lack of self-control and can have negative effects on a teenager’s mental health and overall well-being.

How to Minimize the Negative Effects of Screen Time

While there are potential negative effects of screen time, there are steps that teenagers can take to minimize these effects.

Set Limits

One of the best ways to minimize the negative effects of screen time is to set limits. Teenagers should limit the amount of time they spend in front of screens and set specific times of the day when they will use electronic devices.

Engage in Physical Activity

To counteract the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, teenagers should engage in physical activity regularly. This can include participating in sports, going for a walk or run, or taking part in a fitness class.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for a teenager’s overall health and wellbeing. They should establish a regular sleep routine and avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bedtime.

Balance Screen Time with Other Activities

Teenagers should balance their screen time with other activities, such as spending time with friends and family, pursuing hobbies, and engaging in extracurricular activities.

Ways to reduce screen time A. Alternative activities

In today’s digital age, screens have become an integral part of our daily lives. Whether it’s for work, entertainment, or communication, we spend a significant amount of time in front of screens. However, excessive screen time can have adverse effects on our physical and mental health. It’s essential to find ways to reduce screen time and prioritize other activities. Here are some ways to reduce screen time:

 Alternative activities

  1. Outdoor activities: Spending time outdoors can provide numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. Take a walk, go for a run, bike ride, hike, or spend time in nature. Being outdoors will help you relax and recharge, improving your overall wellbeing.
  2. Reading and writing: Reading and writing can provide an excellent escape from screens. Pick up a book, magazine, or newspaper, or start a journal to record your thoughts and feelings.
  3. Learn something new: Engage in a creative activity like drawing, painting, making something, diy or do something you have been putting off. These activities not only provide a break from screens but also have therapeutic benefits.

 Setting boundaries

  1. Creating a schedule: Create a schedule that includes designated times for work, screen time, and alternative activities. Stick to your schedule, and avoid using screens during your designated “no-screen” time.
  2. Turning off notifications: Turn off notifications for non-essential apps on your phone or other devices. This will help reduce distractions and allow you to focus on other activities.
  3. Limiting social media use: Social media can be a significant source of screen time. Set limits on the amount of time you spend on social media each day. Consider deleting apps that you find particularly distracting.

Reducing screen time can be a challenging but worthwhile endeavor. By prioritizing alternative activities and setting boundaries, you can reduce your screen time and improve your overall well-being. Remember to be patient and persistent in your efforts to reduce screen time.

About The Author

Gymate is a not-for-profit UK initiative to inspire teenagers, young people and anyone new to exercise to start exercising at home. If you have enjoyed this Blog, check out our other Blogs offering health and fitness advice. Thinking you need to get fit? Gymate workout pages are a good place to start, with free videos and health advice.

References:

Lissak, Gadi. “Adverse Physiological And Psychological Effects Of Screen Time On Children And Adolescents: Literature Review And Case Study”. Environmental Research, vol 164, 2018, pp. 149-157. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.015. Accessed 25 Mar 2023.

“Screen Time And The Brain”. Hms.Harvard.Edu, 2019, https://hms.harvard.edu/news/screen-time-brain. Accessed 25 Mar 2023.

 

Health, Active. “What Are The Negative Side Effects Of Too Much Screen Time?”. Activehealth.Sg, 2023, https://www.activehealth.sg/read/screen-time/what-are-the-negative-side-effects-of-too-much-screen-time. Accessed 25 Mar 2023.

 

Encyclopedia, Medical, and Screen children. “Screen Time And Children: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia”. Medlineplus.Gov, 2023, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000355.htm. Accessed 25 Mar 2023.

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