Screen-Free Week: Screen Time & Mental Health

30 Apr by HPA/LiveWell Clinical Psychology

In this day and age, many of us to spend a significant amount of time behind a screen, whether it is a computer, cell phone, or tablet. These technologies are a great benefit in numerous ways – they increase our productivity, help us stay in touch with loved ones, and allow us to obtain endless amounts of information. Yet, there is a substantial downside in the way of mental health. HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York supports Screen-Free Week through raising awareness about the effects of screen time and mental health.

Too Much Screen Time Symptoms

Studies show anything more than 3 hours of screen time per day can be detrimental to a person’s mental health.  Screen time is linked to increased levels of depression, anxiety, and decline in overall mental health and well-being.

Screen-free week aims to raise awareness not only about the connection between recreational screen time and depression and anxiety, but also on the users’ self-concept. One explanation for this is the link between screen time and social media sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.  These social media platforms, which are centered on photo sharing, inevitably breed comparisons amongst peers. Often, the unfortunate side effect of comparison of social media can lead to a decline of self-image.

In children, a specific set of complications can arise with too much screen time. Research indicates a strong association between excessive screen time and childhood obesity, poor school performance, and attention problems.

Screen-Free Week

Screen-free week, which takes place April 30-May 6, 2018, aims to educate the public and encourage the enjoyment of life beyond the screen. There are numerous ways to get involved:

  • Spread the word – pass out flyers or pamphlets with information about screen-free week, or simply tell your friends and family; share tips and ideas for screen-free activities.
  • Plan screen free activities – meet with friends or family to plan a week of activities not involving the computer, television, tablet, or phone.
  • Make screen-free zones – declare certain parts of the home a screen-free zone, especially rooms where the whole family can be together (i.e. – the living room or kitchen). Place a bowl or box in the room’s entryway for people to leave their phones, tablets, etc.

If you are finding that screen time is affecting the mental health of yourself or someone you love, contact HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York at 518-218-1188.