The time spent on the computer and mobile screens has soared dramatically all over the world as we all stay inside to combat the pandemic. We use our phones to check on the latest news updates, scroll down, engage in heated debates about the disease on apps like Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp, or use other video-streaming applications for making calls or for watching videos. Demand for streaming sites across the globe has intensified, with Amazon and Netflix having to reduce video quality in some countries to handle the strain. Social media and video or online gaming are also flourishing.
While there’s no doubt technology has made our lives easier in many ways, research projects suggest that our addiction to it is real. According to a study published on ‘Science Daily‘ digital addiction increases loneliness, anxiety and depression. Setting limits on when certain devices are allowed to intrude on our time can be good for our mental well-being.
In a new paper published in NeuroRegulation, San Francisco State University Professor of Health Education, Erik Peper, and Associate Professor of Health Education, Richard Harvey. argue that the overuse of smartphones is just like any other type of substance abuse. “The behavioural addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking ‘Oxycontin’ for pain relief gradually,” Peper explained.
So, instead of sitting around on your phone getting lost in the news and social media why don’t you take advantage of these days at home engaging in different activities as a family or individually? You can play games with your children in your house such as Taboo or Monopoly, try different recipes, exercise, read books, put together an epic puzzle, sing-along, write a letter, learn a new language or even spruce up your outdoor space. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you to put away your phone physically from time to time, disable push notifications, and check the news only two or three times a day maximum, as not to get overwhelmed. It’s better to look after your mental wellbeing sooner rather than later, for chances are, if you are not able to tackle this addiction now, you still have to deal with your anxiety once the pandemic will be over.