Electronic Screen Syndrome: How It Can Affect Our Mental Health

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We can say that technology has dramatically affected the way we live. It is ever growing and changing while our body and minds couldn’t keep up with it. It harms our mind, our psychology, on us physically and especially our children. We might not have noticed it, but our kids are different due to these technological advancements called gadgets.

We often find excuses for our children’s bad behaviors. We blame other things and say that it’s normal for a child to be defiant and moody until we can’t see what causes these behaviors. We say it’s natural for a child to have tantrums and hyperactivity, but what we don’t know is that somehow, technology has been affecting their minds significantly.

According to Jyothsna Bhat, PsyD, “It has been found that prolonged and unmonitored technology usage can impact children on the cognitive, psychosocial, and psychological levels.” Diagnosing mental disorders in children have gone through the roof. Most children are diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. These are behavioral disorders causing children to become hyperactive, defiant, and have attention deficit. This can be linked to excessive use of gadgets which can then turn into Electronic Screen Syndrome on children. This has caused so many problems for parents everywhere.

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Electronic Screen Syndrome or ESS is somewhat similar to screen addiction, and it can be a huge problem to deal with since it affects children who are overexposed to TV, gadgets, video games, and the likes. It is generally known to have harmful side effects on the psychological and physiological growth in children and can cause severe disorders that lead to taking medication. These medications are another problem because they have side effects that can be dangerous to your children. “Balancing technology use with other aspects of daily life seems reasonable, but there is a lot of conflicting advice about where that balance should be.” Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D. in clinical psychology explains. 

Not only children can be affected by screen addiction, but also adults who spend too much time looking at their screens. You could even make excuses like work for you to take a while longer in front of your computer. What can we do if everything can be accessed using your phone, right? And technology made it easier for us to make appointments and shop for anything with just a click of a button, but they did not mention how it can affect our brain.

Adults can develop severe mental disorders, just like children. Though they may not affect the development of our brain, it can cause our brain cells to deteriorate, and that can lead to chronic illnesses too.

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How To Avoid ESS

It could be hard for a parent to take away the gadget of their children, but it is essential that you find ways to get your children more active and less on their devices.

Informing them about what happens when they are on their gadgets for too long can help them understand why you are doing this. Making them understand that you are concerned for their health and well-being will also make them realize what could go wrong if they become addicted to their phones.

Setting ground rules can be another way of preventing screen addiction. Let your children be involved in making rules about when and how long they can use their gadgets so they can be involved with all the decision making. For example, you can let them use their devices once all school work and chores are done and set up a time when they have to stop using their phones to get ready for bed. This can become a habit, and they won’t even need to use their gadgets often when they are used to this kind of system.

Ask them about their hobbies. Have some time for your children and ask about what hobbies they would love to do. Ask them if they are in sports, arts, music, or something else and give them the chance to explore their hobbies. Instead of scrolling down their phones, let them play outside and discover what they would love to do in their free time. This will keep them occupied and still have fun at the same time. “There are many examples of physical activity that range in levels of intensity from light to vigorous. Maintaining your physical health can include yoga, bike riding, jumping rope, engaging in sports, running, walking, jogging, skiing, dancing, tennis, and gardening.” Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC said.

Get them involved around the house. Even young ones can do simple chores at home, and this will take their minds off of watching cartoons, playing video games, or going through their social media feed. Teach them a sense of responsibility and obedience and make chores something fun they can do together. This will also be a form of bonding between you and your children at home.

It is okay to be strict with their gadget use if it’s for their good. You and your spouse would also benefit from being away from your phones and devices. You could spend more time with your children, learn what they love and what they don’t, have time to talk about anything that would let you know more about them.

Technology can swipe time right off our hands. You could forget about what is important and just be buried in your phone, going through emails and having no time left to spend with your family. After a while, you will start to realize how addicted you have become to your gadgets and how much you missed in life. You wouldn’t like that.

Take a break from all that is not helpful online and get productive with BetterHelp. Tune out the tweets and the Instagram stories because BetterHelp is here to not only teach you about mental health but also offer you affordable therapy and counseling. It’s all one click away!

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