Are we too plugged in?

In a recent report, (2021) showd that children and young adults were spending more than 7 hours per day on either their tablets or their phones.   The study showed that spending this much time on social media led to an increase in depression and anxiety.

Symptoms include:

  • emotional meltdowns
  • irritability
  • inability to manage in-person social encounters,
  • poor sportsmanship
  • ADD/ADHD behaviors

There is a sub-set of psychiatrists who are now specializing in screen use.  They are recommending a total screen fast for students and adults who are having trouble self-regulating screen time.  This includes time spent on all screens: TVs, phones, video-games, social media.  Studies show that after 4 weeks, there is a discernable change in the negative behaviors that too much screen time cause.

Dr. David Rosenfeld who is a psychotherapist and professor at Buenos Aires University hypothesizes that the sensory overload of screen times leads to dopamine releases that are addictive.

Dr. Dunckley (an expert in screen time) has seen a huge difference between TV screen time and social media scrolling.   She says that children are affected by more than 2 hours uninterupped TV time, but that time is reduced to 30 minutes with interactive screen play.

One of the problems with interactive screen play is that there is no definitive end to the play as there is in reading a book, playing a game or watching a movie.   The bright colors and and sounds that occur when ‘rewards’ are earned causes these young people to neglect ‘human time.’    Human time is that time needed to take care of ourselves and our families:  personal grooming, meals, time spent at work or at school, and sleep.

Hilarie Cash who is  co-founder of reSTART Life says that today’s tech-addicted individual may not have the tools needed to build self-sustaining lives.  They often do not know how to cook, take care of themselves, engage in conversation or keep a job.  Streaming activities become escape routes from the riggors of real life.

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Until next time,


Dr. Polly