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How Screen Time is Affecting You and Your Child's Health

by on 25/10/2017 4313

An average adult spends 11 hours in front of screens every single day. Children spend seven hours. Many also use two screens at once and these numbers are on the rise. A 2015 survey found that 87% of the respondents watched television while also using their phone; in 2016, this number increased to 93%. Indeed, screens are becoming increasingly integrated into our daily life; a survey found that 50.4% of respondents use computers for shopping and 48.7% use computers to find recipes, certainly a departure from recent years.


South Texas Eye Institute created the below infographic to share the latest research on the impact of screens on not only our eyes but also our health in general. In terms of our vision, screens have been associated with digital eye strain (with 91% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 reporting symptoms), as well as retina damage and long-term vision problems. It has also been linked to an increase in obesity and diabetes, and even negatively affects our brain matter. A 2011 study showed that 2+ hours of recreational screen time increases the risk of death by as much as 52%. This is due to the impact of digital screens on our cardiovascular health and our weight.


The effects of screens on our children and youth have also been studied, the results of which are just as bleak. Increased screen time is associated with decreased academic performance. A  study found that children who spent more than 8.5 hours in front of screens (remember, too, that the average American child already spends seven hours in front of screens) dropped a grade in four subjects. Playing video games releases dopamine in the brain, with brain scans resembling those who are addicted to cocaine.


In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics officially recommended that babies do not have any contact with screens unless they are video chatting with family until they 18 months old. While much of this research is startling, the infographic below explores the ways in which these dangerous effects can be minimized. 


Source of Inforgraphic: