The side effects of screens

Trinity Morgan, Plaid Truth Staff

Since the start of the pandemic, screens have been an even more important factor in our lives than ever before. We’re staring at screens for hours on end and there are side effects. Both good and bad.

The pandemic has greatly influenced the use of screens. We use our devices daily to do school, work, communicate with friends, play video games, scroll through social media, etc. Everything is online now. Online school especially is influenced by the pandemic. Students are on Zoom for hours and then continue to have to do loads of work after their Zoom classes. “Students’ pastimes after class sometimes involve screens too–watching TV, being on the phone or the computer–so we are all getting much more than our share of screen-time,” said English teacher Douglas King. One of the main ways students distract themselves or take breaks from all this work online is to go on another device for hours on end.

Negative effects are more prominent than positive effects when it comes to the use of screens. Excessive screen time can strain your eyes and cause headaches. “I personally have been getting really bad headaches after working on zoom and doing online school for long periods of time,” said junior Summer Meeks. “I think it is because of the fact that I spend so much time doing online school and when I go to take breaks from school I just go and use more devices.” Another side effect of screen time is body pain. Pain in your body can form from slouching and being hunched over all day while using devices. When using your phone for extended periods of time, a position you often default to is slouching. Another side effect is lower self-esteem and confidence. Social media especially can be so harmful to one’s mental health. Social media likes to take insecurities you already had and make them so much worse. Social media also likes to take things you were never once insecure about and make you insecure about those things.

A lot of the negative effects caused by screens can be prevented. One way to prevent negative effects is to make sure to take breaks away from screens frequently. Two other things you can do is stop using blue light-emitting devices before you sleep or get blue light blocking glasses. You can also adjust the brightness on your phone to help prevent eye strain.

Although there are lots of negative effects there are also a few positive effects. One positive effect is that playing video games can improve coordination and agility. Online video games can also help communication and social skills. Another positive, especially during the pandemic, is reducing boredom.