Screened Out

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Provided by Tribute at The Glen

In our modern world, more and more things are being digitized, and more and more people are spending time in front of screens: televisions, cell phones, computers, tablets, even cars and refrigerators are now being made with interactive screens. Some consider these computerized screens to be harmful enough to declare the first week in May Digital Detox Week, a week spent free of the influence of these screens in our lives.

Is “screen time” truly harmful? Some scientists have found screen time to have greater negative influences on kids. One study showed that kids separated from their screens for a week did a better job of reading emotions on other people’s faces than those who spent their days watching TV or playing computer games. This shows that too much screen time perhaps reduces children’s abilities to empathize with each other. Kids are not the only ones under the influence of screens. Adults who are on their computers or cell phones before they fall asleep have been shown to suffer through the night. The light from the screen disrupts the brain’s sleep-wake cycle, causing insomnia-like symptoms and sleep deprivation.

We must accept that computers and media such as television and games are a fact of modern living. But how do we strike a healthy balance with these digital devices? One researcher advises that if the sun is shining, then screen time should be limited. There is no digital substitute for a walk outdoors or a
visit to the playground. Another suggestion is to strike a balance between the more passive, consumptive nature of sitting in front of screens with active creativity. For every minute spent in front of the TV or a computer game, balance that with cooking, knitting, building a fort, doing a puzzle, or creating an art project. In our digital world, where our every whim seems catered to, it is important to stay engaged and curious with the world beyond our electronic screens.

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