Tuesday, May 11, 2021 | Ramadan 28, 1442 H
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Extended screen time can affect mental wellbeing

Screentime Illustration
Screentime Illustration

Salalah: The COVID-19 has exposed everyone to an entirely new situation. People have to be compulsorily at home but active at the same time to meet their job requirements, studies, and even entertainment. Their dependence on virtual platforms multiplied in comparison to the pre-Corona days.

In the whole process time spent on screens multiplied several times, which according to human psychologists may have far-reaching consequences.

“The adaptability to work solely through screens was not that tough owing to the habitual use of screens in pre-COVID times, but adjusting to the loss of non-paranoid mental states has been profoundly tough

for the inhabitants of this world,” said Dr Sidra Afzal, an expert in clinical psychology.

In an interview with the Observer, Dr Sidra tried to explain screen addition and said, “We are not addicted to screens actually; we are addicted to quick fixes in our lives. Trying to escape from our negative thoughts and emotions in self-reflective moments (currently get-at-able), we end up in the vicious cycle of mindless scrolling on social networking sites, causing heightened distress, frustration, and exhaustion.”

So people should keep it clear that if too much of screen time was bad for mental and physical health pre-corona time, it is worse still post-corona. “Due to our over-dependence, it didn’t get corrected.”

There has of course been a shift. Earlier children were being scolded for using too many electronic gadgets especially those with screens. But due to prevalence classes, they are being encouraged and in many cases, they are taking advantage of it also.

“Having said that, let’s don’t undermine the fact that screens are making us and our kids learn new things with every passing day, especially during these strange times. Pupils, who encountered abrupt school closure without further plans, have higher chances of lagging in scholastic capacities from those who continued learning through online means. This assumption is based on the established meta-analytic research findings which showed the high associations between a circumspect selection of online activities with language acquisition skills and random mindless content with diminished language skills in children,” said Dr Sidra.

“We have to make several choices every day; ranging from picking food from menu cards to selecting a surgeon for our child’s surgery. The results matter how mindfully those choices are made. Similar is the case with screens, we choose ‘what’ to view and ‘how much’ to view. Scrolling the social networking sites mindlessly, playing the violent

games, etc is profoundly harmful to physical and psychological wellbeing and can bring irreversible damages,” she said.

It is high time, according to her, for introspection and mending our prolonged, callous screenings of futile content in place of dedicated access to free prolific learning resources from the world-class libraries and universities. Using gadgets flouting the precautionary measures of keeping the screens literally at outstretched arm’s length (at least), using the big screens instead of cellphones and tablets for watching videos and movies and following the 20-20-20 rule (i.e. every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away, for 20 seconds) can help us to lift the induced guilt in us by the popular axioms of an anti-screen section of society who judge the book by looking only its cover.

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