The dark side of technology: How increased screen time is harming our mental health

Unplugging refers to taking a break from technology such as smartphones, computers, and televisions. This practice has become increasingly important today, as people are constantly connected and bombarded with information and distractions. Jean Twenge studied data on 11 million youths and found that more time spent on digital media may cause decreased happiness. There are many reasons why this may be the case. For one, increased screen time has caused people to spend less time meeting with others face-to-face. Twenge found that those born after 1995 spent one hour less daily face-to-face interaction in high school than those born in the 1970s. With the rise of digital and social media, meaningful social relations have declined. With more time spent looking at screens, people also sleep less. Sleeping (especially dreaming) helps prepare your mind to regulate emotions during the day. When sleep-deprived, you will feel more tired and irritable. A good mood becomes hard to obtain. Another reason people may feel less happy is by spending more time on social media. Studies have found that social media can be harmful to well-being. It encourages people to compare themselves with the highlight reels of others. And this social comparison can make them feel inferior. Taking the time to unplug can lead to a more meaningful day. Instead of scrolling through the latest social media feed, you can spend more time talking with others, mindful and undistracted. Unplugging can also be freeing. It allows you to connect with yourself without constant stimulation. You will be able to think more clearly. And you can gain insight within the space of self-reflection. Technology is not bad in itself, but be sure to be mindful of how you use it. If you ever find yourself looking for your phone without any reason, perhaps it's time to unplug.

Which digital activity, if anything, do you need to reduce?