It is estimated that Americans average about 5 hours a day watching television and around 3.6 hours a day using their cell phones. This means that an American averages more time on electronic devices than they do at work or at school. This causes a lot of problems with behavior, with relationships, and with our health. It hinders our relationships with others because instead of talking to them we are attached to our devices. If we have 8 hours at work and 8 hours of electronic usage, that doesn’t leave much time for housework or more importantly, for spending quality time with family and friends. If people are spending 8 hours attached to devices it means they are not being active. This can cause heart and circulation issues as well as weight issues, because people sit down and use their devices instead of get up and move around or exercise. It can even cause depression because people spend so much time online that they do not get outside and don’t receive high levels of Vitamin D, and because it causes them to be antisocial.
Relationships Are Affected
When a person spends a ton of time using social media on electronic devices they tend to distract themselves from their real life. This is also the case when they watch too much tv, or spend a ton of time playing electronic games. Chores do not get done, homework doesn’t get done, and people just don’t talk to each other. It can cause marital issues because one person is addicted to the internet and electronics, and not spending time with their partner. It can even cause infidelity; people have been known to meet others online while on social media or playing games, starting up a personal, adulterous relationship.
Electronic Usage Affects Sleep
Not only do people stay up later in order to watch television shows or playing just one more level in Candy Crush, causing them to lose sleep, but even if you don’t stay up later the actual usage can cause you to lose sleep. Research has shown that the blue lights that electronic devices give off can cause the body to produce less melatonin, which is the chemical that allows your body to fall asleep quickly and deeply.
Setting Time Limits Can Help
One easy way to make a change is to set a time limit on electronic devices. For instance, do not allow electronic usage for an hour before bedtime. This is especially important with young kids who really need their sleep and can already have issues settling down for the night. I personally notice changes in my kids sleep habits when we reduce electronic use – they fall asleep quicker and they sleep more soundly, waking up less in the middle of the night. Not only setting bedtime limits, you can set actual time limits each day. Maybe you will only allow an hour of electronic usage daily. The other time can be spent reading, doing artwork, or playing board games with your family. This is a much better way to spend time as you are stimulating your brain, and playing board games allows you to have fun as a family together instead of just sitting next to each other paying attention to something else.
Consumer electronics are everywhere in the market and in every home. They can create a lot of hours of fun but they can also create problems and it is important, as with everything, to use them in moderation.