We have been told several times: “you don’t feel that close to the TV”, “it is not time to look at your cell phone”, “take care of your computer or you will need glasses”.
It’s clear that mainstream culture is rooted in the idea that screens can affect our health, both physically and psychologically, but has this been scientifically proven? Is it really bad to use a lot of electronic devices with screens? Let’s see below.
Is it bad to use screens?
We have all heard that the use of screens can affect our health, especially in sight. On another occasion, our parents, friends or someone else told us not to sit so close to the television because we would end up wearing glasses or avoid using the computer at home. night, because then it would cost us to fall asleep. . In general culture, the belief that screens, powerful emitters of light, are not trivial is very well founded.
Is it bad to use screens? Yes. No. It actually depends. It depends on how we use them, our responsibility, and what tips we use to reduce their impact on our eyesight, sleep patterns, and mental health.
It is not the same to be in front of a computer for 9 hours straight without getting up just to go to the bathroom as it is to do it every half hour, resting your eyes and washing your face for hydrate a little. In addition, the lighting of the room and the ergonomics influence the quality of our relationship with the screen.
Really, what screens damage eyesight is something that, while not a lie, it is it has some component of myth that they are very harmful. This belief has its origins in the 1960s, when faulty televisions emitting too much light were marketed causing vision problems. However, given that we are in the 21st century and there are strong regulations for electronic devices, it is very unlikely that we will find ourselves in such a situation.
However, it should be noted that in the long run, using screens for long periods of time and without taking proper precautions can cause problems both in the eyes and in our sleep hygiene and mental health.
Among the visual problems to highlight, there are asthenopia or eye strain. This problem occurs when you spend too much time with your eyes fixed on something. When we focus our eyes, the muscles in our eyes tighten, with the intention of focusing on the object.
In case we are like this for a long time, the muscles can feel resentment and produce a feeling of discomfort. When we are in front of a screen, this problem can arise more quickly, as our eyes constantly have to adapt to the brightness of the screen and the darkness of the environment.
3D technology causes distortion between the real image and what is perceived by the brain. Excessive vision, especially in children, who are still learning visual coordination, can lead to headaches, fatigue and nausea.
It is for this reason that some video game consoles, like the Nintendo 3DS whose main attraction was 3D technology, were forced to remove this feature, as its main target audience, children, could have serious headaches. .
When you’re looking at a tablet or smartphone, you tend to tilt your head. This movement, to be done in a prolonged and very repeated way, it causes the neck muscles to stretch for too long, What causes pain.
It can also be the case that working with the computer in a posture detrimental to our back, acquiring an uncomfortable posture. In fact, this is what causes 2 in 3 people to complain of muscle pain associated with using screens.
What’s most disturbing about screens, whether it’s TV, computer, or mobile, is how they alter biorhythms.
Exposure to artificial light can cause alterations in circadian rhythms, Which are the oscillations of biological variables at regular intervals, between 20 and 28 hours, which are synchronized with environmental rhythms such as light or temperature. So to speak, they are the human biological clock, regulating the functions of the organism.
These cycles are closely related to light stimuli, as the brain associates sunlight with increased physiological activity, while darkness interprets it as a signal to inhibit functions, reaching minimum activity between 3:00 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Circadian activity in mammals is triggered by specialized cells in the retina, The light-sensitive part that indicates the presence or absence of light. These cells are particularly sensitive to bluish wavelengths, such as those in a daytime sky.
The problem with all of this is that the brain cannot distinguish between sunlight, a light bulb, and a computer screen. Because of this, and also depending on the type of light and the brightness of luminous objects, it can induce circadian disturbances and, consequently, sleep and mood problems. In fact, this has been linked to suffering from health issues such as diabetes, cancer, obesity, and depression, although it should be understood that the correlation does not imply causation.
How do we prevent screens from affecting us?
First, the most basic and obvious tip to keep screens from affecting us is to stop using them. So simple. However, given the busy and demanding life of the society we live in, in which it is very difficult for us to meet our obligations on time, as well as the fact that we are hyperconnected, this advice is very easy to say. almost impossible to do.
Fortunately, and especially intended for those who can hardly afford to shut down their computer at 10 p.m., there are alternatives to prevent the screen itself from seriously affecting our biorhythm. There are special programs, like F.lux, that allow you to calibrate the intensity of the light, preventing the brain from thinking that it is daylight. This app changes the screen color throughout the day, being cooler in the morning and warmer at night.
If you are having trouble with the screens for simple abuse, whether it is from staring too much at the phone or staying up late at night playing video games, here the best option you can take is to heal healthy. wonder if you have a problem with new technology. What message will we receive at night? What’s the use of watching the last thing such an influencer put on those hours?
Your computer, mobile phone or tablet, if their use is not strictly necessary, it is better to turn them off at night. As the use of screens is not trivial and their use at night causes sleep problems, their non-binding use may be due to an addiction to new technologies, which requires the intervention of a professional.
- Stevens, R. G & Zhu, Y. (2015) Electric light, especially at night, disrupts human circadian rhythm: is it a problem? Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B37020140120 http://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2014.0120.