Screen addiction is real. It involves using too much technology during our day. While there’s a responsible way to use digital devices, screen addiction takes pleasure to an extreme.
Screen addiction can manifest in many forms, including staying glued to Netflix, playing video games, constantly scrolling through TikTok feeds, and roaming from app to app on your phone.
About 65% of adults under 35 check their phones within 5 minutes of waking up (and then continue to use them throughout the day). Sometimes, we even use our devices on the road in unsafe situations.
It is worthy of note that the desire to avoid or reduce discomfort is what leads to screen addiction. We spend hours on our devices seeking entertainment, distraction, escape from reality, or anything to take our minds off the daily grind. We look for comfort and find the addiction.
Identifying Screen Addiction
We all use screens. Even as I type this, I am looking at a screen. It means it’s not all bad. However, higher screen time is associated with lesser psychological well-being. One research suggests that “After one hour/day of use, more hours of daily screen time were associated with lower psychological well-being.”
That makes screen addiction a leading cause of mental health challenges. More so, screen addiction leads to behavioural changes. There are a few things that you may observe in people caught in the web of screen addiction;
- Loss of interest in other activities
- Feelings of anxiety when you cannot use your device
- It preoccupies your thoughts
- Interferes with socialising and the desire to explore the world around you.
- Increased argumentative tendencies
- Poor emotional control
- A poor sleeping pattern which can lead to depression.
Handling Excessive Screen time
If you must deal with screen addictions effectively, you must understand the problem is with you, not your device. You’re the one that first needs to change.
Restricting the use of digital devices is not how you stop it. Instead, you want to understand the underlying cause of the problem and deal with it. Until you face what you’re running from, any practical step will not yield results.
Once done, however, the following steps can help you stay conscious and avoid screen addiction;
- Restrict use in the morning: Don’t use your phone as an alarm. That way, you can have some time to yourself in the morning. Keeping your phones in another room while you sleep could curb morning and nighttime scrolling.
- Track usage: Use productivity timers to track time spent on specific websites or applications and the amount of work done during a particular period.
- Adjust notification settings: Set notifications to alert you only when the app is opened or disable them altogether. That way, you’ll miss out on the dopamine rush that keeps you picking up your phone ever so often.
- Set usage parameters: Plan the usage of your device into your schedule.
- Keep sacred times: Avoid device usage during bonding times with friends, family, and colleagues, or during work hours, except if it is work-related.
How do you manage your screen time?