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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How To Protect Your Mental Health From Toxic Screen Time Use

Every May is Mental Health Awareness Month, designed to raise awareness about mental health and provide support and education to help the millions of people across the country who suffer from mental illness. Research has shown that excess screen time can have a negative effect on our mental health. Screen time includes anything that involves a child or adult looking at a screen on devices such as a television, smartphone, computer, or game console. Too much screen time is associated with negative self-image, irritability, sleeplessness, technology addiction, and an increased risk of obesity which can contribute to poor mental health. If you and your family want to get into a healthy mental space, here's what you need to know.

The negatives and positives of screen time are always debated. You can't ignore the positives of technology which include the ability to stay in contact with family and loved ones, especially those who live a great distance away from us. Technology has made our lives easier when it comes to accomplishing tasks in our homes and at work with the large variety of apps and programs that fuel our mental growth and physical wellness. However, like anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad for us. Many forms of technology such as streaming services, social media, online gaming, and now AI can have a negative effect on your mental state. The tweens and Teens in your life need to have special care as their young minds don't know how to turn off and unplug from digital devices that want them to stay plugged in 24/7.

Here are some red flags you and your family should be aware of that show that technology is starting to have a negative mental impact on you.

  • Checking emails first thing in the morning when you wake up.

  • You or your family members are not sleeping well

  • You or your family members suffer from Fear of missing out (FOMO). when it comes to technology.

  • Feel stressed when you can’t find your phone.

  • Kids feel stressed when they aren't on devices.

  • Check your phone every few minutes.

  • Feel depressed, lonely, or angry after spending time on social media or the internet.

  • Preoccupied with responses on social media.

  • Feeling distracted by your phone when you are doing work, school, or some other tasks.

  • Mood Swings from Kids

If you want to get into a better mental space, try some of these simple tips first.

  1. Consider deleting specific apps that simply are not bringing you happiness.

  2. Consider deleting people from social media that are upsetting.

  3. Put your phone and devices down during mealtimes.

  4. Monitor your and your kid's screen time.

  5. Use the do not disturb setting on your phone.

  6. If you work at a computer all day, designate time away from the computer or screen.

  7. Replace digital habits with healthy habits such as exercise or meditation.

  8. Enable parental controls and kids' devices to limit time spent on devices.

Hopefully, this post has given you the information you need to help curb the overuse of technology at home or at work. As always, if you are suffering from mental health issues, you should contact a professional. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!

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