Fact or fiction: the truth about what screens do to your body

Since the advent of TVs, rumours have flooded our lives about the impacts a screen will have on our
health. Who remembers the days when parents and authority figures told kids not to watch too much
TV, or they’d rot their brains? It’s one of many myths that have evolved around screen use, especially as
screens have become more prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Some myths have a basis in truth, and
others are outlandish and untrue (no, watching too much TV will not, in fact, rot your brain).
Read on as we separate fact from fiction to dispel the myths around screen use and reveal the truth
about how these devices impact our bodies. Below, we’ll look at six commonly held ideas and the truth
(or fiction) behind them.

1. Too much screen time damages your eyes

This is a myth, though it’s easy to understand why it’s become such a prevalent belief. Using screens for
long periods fatigues our eyes, causing eye strain, dryness, and, in some cases, headaches, all of which
can be easily linked to poor eye health. While fatigued eyes can be uncomfortable, they don’t cause
permanent damage to your overall vision or eye health.


2. Screens cause physical health problems

This is a myth rooted in the fact that our health is impacted by being sedentary. When we think of how
we often use a screen (like sitting at our desk working on our computer or lounging on the couch watching the TV), it’s easy to see why a link has been made between screen use and increased health
problems. But the problem is that we’re sitting or lounging rather than the fact that we’re using a
Sitting or lounging regularly, or in other words, leading a sedentary life, can cause weight gain, heart
problems, diabetes, and many other health problems. If we were to add more movement into our days
by getting something like a standing desk for work and maybe even an under-the-desk treadmill, we’d
be helping to reduce these screen-related health concerns. This means that screens may exacerbate our
tendencies towards sedentary lives, but they are not the source of our physical health problems.

3. Screens ruin your sleep

This is true. Screens emit blue light, a bright, short wavelength that, until the advent of electricity, we’d
primarily get from the sun. Our bodies use blue light to cue our sleep-wake cycle, or as it’s also known,
our circadian rhythms. These rhythms trigger the release of wakefulness or tiredness hormones to help
us wake up in the morning and start feeling sleepy in the evenings.
When we’re on our phones or laptops or even watching TV until late into the evening, we expose
ourselves to blue light and delay the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Because of this, we end
up having a hard time falling asleep and staying awake later into the night or having a poorer quality of

4. Screens are bad for children’s brain development

This is true depending on the child’s age, type of screen time, and length of screen time. For children
under 24 months old, it’s recommended that you avoid giving them screen time entirely. But even after
this age, too much screen time can lead to problems with children’s attention spans, communication
and social skills, and problem-solving abilities.
However, screen time isn’t all bad. For kids three and over, limited screen time incorporating
educational apps can accelerate their learning. Even spending quality family time watching movies or
shows while actively engaging with what’s happening on the screen can create a positive experience for
children’s development.

5. Screens harm your mental health

This is true. When screens are used for an excessive amount of time, they’ve been associated with
increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Part of the reason for this is the sleep problems
related to using screens, and poor sleep is closely linked to our mental health. Another aspect of this is
the activity we participate in on our screens. For instance, scrolling through apps like Instagram,
Facebook, TikTok, and any other social media is linked with depression and self-esteem issues.

6. Screens are addictive

This is true, but developing a screen addiction is incredibly rare. However, for those struggling with
addictive tendencies with their phones, it can have a significant effect on their lives, just like any other
addiction. Gender also influences what you’re more likely to become addicted to. Men are more likely to
be addicted to activities like video gaming, while women are more likely to experience addictive
behaviours through social media.

Tips for a healthier relationship with screens

While we often consider the safety of our online activities, like being careful only to input our personal
information on trustworthy online stores, streaming platforms, or casinos, we aren’t as cautious when it
comes to our screen time. But much like reviewing a list of all operators with Paysafecard before
gambling online, we can implement practices to create a healthier balance when using our screens.
A few best practices for your screen time can include:

● Avoiding eye strain by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet (or more)
away from your screen for 20 seconds.
● Putting your phone away two hours before your bedtime (if you can’t do two hours, even an
hour or half an hour beforehand can help improve your sleep quality).
● Dedicating time each day to screen-free activities.
● Limiting your social media scrolling time (with a timer, reminder, or using the in-app settings) to
limit the adverse mental health effects.

Everything in moderation

When it comes down to it, screens are a huge element in our lives that can’t be avoided. It’s essential
that we remember that while screens have given us a great deal of freedom and ease in our lives, the
idea of there being too much of a good thing certainly applies to their use. Do yourself a favour and
develop boundaries around your screen time because everything is better in moderation.

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