The Decade of The Phone: Screen Time During The Pandemic
For many people, screen time is a touchy subject even in the best and jolliest of times. But now, with everyone holed up together 24/7 with a scary pandemic in the air and, everything from school, work, shopping sprees, social life to parties taking place online, it’s even harder to know how to put boundaries on the screen time for yourself as well as your loved ones
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and spread like wildfire, the governments worldwide enforced school and office closure as part of their containment strategy. This is when digital technology, social media and virtual learning played a vital role in ensuring that humans being the social butterflies that they are, still remained connected and close to each other.
°Monotonous Life Amidst the Pandemic
The pandemic has been very hard and heavy for all of us. Human beings who were the king of the planet were pulled into their houses and forced to shut their doors tight. Alas, this took a very heavy toll on us. Our lives were disrupted and uprooted. Nobody knew what to do and everyone was on a long freak-out stream. But, once that passed, it all went downhill.
It became the same rigid feeling of being stuck in the house and sitting in front of that screen for an incredibly long time till our eyes were dry and backs, tired. This is what the year of the pandemic has done to all of us but, let’s face it. . . survival is the biggest win and we’re all in this together!
°Screen Time and Children
The pandemic has seriously affected children and their lives changed massively. They had to stop seeing their friends and going to school along with which, they have been forced to shake up, change and ruin their routine but technology came to their rescue.
Alas, home-schooling seems to have become a trend and the poor children are stuck with online school and excess homework as well as the pressure of exams and marking schemes.
During the situations, the concerns of the parents just seem to be reaching an all-time high.
“The coronavirus pandemic is remaking the way my children learn, and it could have an impact on their eyes- That is what I’m worried about!” Suggested a worried mother.
A worried father adds, “I’m worried about my child stumbling upon some weird information on the internet and with the pandemic, you can’t keep up. That scares me.”
°Social Life and Relationships
The pandemic has actually disrupted a lot of our relationships. We aren’t able to see family or meet our friends and the distance is causing a lot of problems and breaking a lot of hearts.
Relationship experts believe that the rate of breakups has boomed amid the pandemic, over fifty per cent of the relationships around the globe couldn’t survive this.
The only beautiful blessing through all of this distance has been the internet and phones. They helped us connect with our loved ones to ensure the survival of our relationships. This is probably why sales and memberships of dating applications like Cupid and Tinder saw a massive boom!
°The Physical Side-Effects
“Increased digital screen time, near work, and limited outdoor activities were found to be associated with the onset and progression of myopia, and could potentially be aggravated during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak period. “Suggested Dr Sharma from AIIMS.
This combination – more screen time and less outdoor time – may actually harm visions and put us all at higher risk of developing myopia, or near-sightedness. That can lead to serious eye problems in the future, including some potentially blinding diseases.
“It can also cause serious health problems and obesity in a package deal in both, adults as well as children.” He further added.
°The Psychological Overview
There was a massive psychological effect of this as well and there was no way to get away from the same but, was it all negative?
Ummang Sharma Bajpai (Senior Psychologist, Institute for the Advancement of Mental Health) Expressed, “Within the current state of affairs amid the pandemic, a world without phones would be hard to fathom. From a mental health point of view, smartphones have enabled millions of people to stay in touch with their loved ones and maintain some semblance of social connection – vital during such stressful and isolating times. We must, however, be mindful that in its current form, telephony cannot replace in-person human interaction – the unnatural communication lags, the screen fatigue, the lack of body language or sense of smell and touch make up for an overtly artificial communication experience.”
He further added, “Even pre-pandemic, addictive behaviour when interacting with smartphones was a concern, something that has only exacerbated since. At the neurological level, the ability to get instant gratification thanks to these handheld magical devices is starting to make us more impulsive as we chase the dopamine kick and start to lose sight of our long-term goals.”
°The Flip Side of This Rising Number
With the dangerous and unavoidable fate imposed upon us as a whole, humanity as a race was challenged. We had to fight for the throne that was survival and nobody seemed to have any idea about what one should do in this case. Therefore, being forced into our houses for shelter and protection was inevitable.
Now, in such a situation where the masters who slaved us were the circumstances and a deadly virus, Stockholm syndrome was next to impossible (unless you fall in love with staying at home, forever), people were depressed, lonely, scared, bored, annoyed, frustrated, pissed and just plain clueless with a wave of emotions that they probably couldn’t even recognise.
This is where technology flew in as a proper blessing. Could you possibly imagine the last few months without internet, televisions and other such appliances that helped out survival? Working from home, education at home, therapy at home, Netflix, gaming and other such things have basically managed to keep us occupied and distracted from the stress and anxiety and also, brought us together in these hard times.
So, even though the screen time has gone up and there are possible repercussions of the same, it has also been a constant support system for people everywhere.
Hence, it is fairly obvious that this is another case of the ‘two sides of the coin’- There are various advantages as well as disadvantages of the situation at hand and it is upon us to make sure that we make a wise choice.
TheVibe urges you to make sure that you limit your screen time so you can enjoy the great blessing that is dear technology and don’t turn the same, into a curse.
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