February 26, 2024

Balancing Screen Time for Men’s Mental Health

Balancing Screen Time for Men’s Mental Health

It’s almost impossible to remember life without the internet and smartphones. However, many of us will be able to look back on those times and wonder how we survived. The internet is always on today, and our smartphones seem permanently attached to our sides.

While these genius inventions allow us to connect with loved ones, access information and stay safe on the roads, they can also take over our lives. Unfortunately, too much screen time can also impact your mental health.

In this guide we’ll explore:

  1. Some facts on smartphone usage
  2. The truth about how much screen time men usually get.
  3. The potential impacts on your mental health.
  4. How to balance screen time and enhance your wellbeing.

The facts on smartphone usage

Mobile phones have been around for a long time, but they were used mainly by people with a lot of money in the 1980s. By the 1990s, mobiles grew in popularity, and 16% of households had access to one. In 2000, this number increased to 44% (Statista).

Research by U Switch also highlights an increase in the number of adults over 55 with smartphones. In 2012, just 5% of people in the age bracket had access to a smartphone, but a whopping 86% owned one in 2023.

A 2019 survey from Statista surprisingly showed that slightly more men used their smartphones to access the internet, with males between 16 and 54 most likely to browse from their mobile devices.

Lastly, a Mirror article reveals that six in ten UK adults couldn’t live without smartphones.

How much screen time do men usually get?

While there’s no gender-specific research on screen time in the UK, the national averages show a worrying trend. A NUSPB study revealed the following insights:

  • 44% of adults look at their smartphone screen for four hours a day, while 67% watch TV for three hours.
  • 20% of people surveyed said they use their smartphone for over six hours.
  • Over 59% of respondents say too much screen time impacts their health.

Whether it’s part of your job, looking for entertainment or surfing the web, screen time can negatively impact your overall wellbeing, resulting in both physical and mental symptoms.

The potential impacts of too much screen time on your mental health

the potential impacts of too much screen time on your mental health

So, just how damaging can screen time be? Well, we all know that it can cause physical symptoms, including vision issues, migraines, muscle strains and poor posture - but what about the mental impact?

Men who spend too much time in front of TV, smartphone and laptop screens are more at risk of the following mental health issues.

Sleep issues

Most screens emit blue light, which can impact your natural sleep cycle. It interferes with the production of melatonin, a vital hormone for sleep regulation, making it harder for people to switch off at night and enjoy peaceful sleep.

As the cycle continues, severe insomnia can occur, which inevitably affects your mood and makes it hard to concentrate on daily activities.

Anxiety and depression

Spending significant amounts of time on screens means you’re not out and about doing things. Sure, you might connect with people on social media, but there’s no replacement for human contact.

Isolating yourself from others can result in depression while looking at the successes of other people on social media might impact your self-esteem. Once anxiety and depression take hold, they require treatment.

Decrease in cognitive function

While many people need computers for their jobs, too much screen time can impact your ability to concentrate and make informed decisions. When constantly digesting a lot of information, it’s easy to lose attention and forget vital details.

In some cases, the very things meant to help can hinder you by decreasing your attention span and decreasing your professional or academic performance.

Relationship problems

Did you know that spending a lot of time on social media can affect your relationships? Research from the University of Boston reveals that social media usage contributes to divorces.

Jealousy and mistrust can occur, as well as a breakdown in communication, leading couples to grow apart.

How to balance screen time and enhance your wellbeing

So, now you know why excessive screen time can be damaging, it’s time to look at some great ways to strike that elusive balance. The following tips will help you feel more in control and less consumed by technology:

  • Know your limits: Experts recommend a maximum of two hours of screen time outside your professional life. You can gradually cut down and use apps to alert you when you’re over the limit.
  • Prioritise: Always put necessary activities above entertainment to moderate your usage.
  • Go tech-free: Establishing areas of your home where tech isn’t allowed can help reduce your reliance on smartphones. For example, give yourself a designated reading spot and try to spend time there daily.
  • Break it up: Employers usually let their workers take regular breaks from computer screens, and you should do the same each day. Take time to be out in nature and organise social activities.
  • Rest easy: One of the most beneficial things you can do is avoid looking at screens before bed. Switch them off and read or meditate to promote better sleep.
  • Focus on your health: Understand what screen time does to your body and mind by focusing on health coaching and tracking the positive changes once you reduce your screen time.
  • Stop notifications: Constant notifications can be highly distracting, but you can change your phone’s settings to prevent them.

The bottom line

In today’s digital-first society, it would be nearly impossible to ditch mobile phones and laptops for good. However, by moderating your usage, you can enjoy everything they offer without the adverse effects.

Remember the risks of excessive screen time and think of things you can do to promote mental health, including focusing on your relationships and spending more time outdoors.

If you’d like help, the Eden Clinic for Men is the go-to place for unparalleled support. We offer a range of services that help men live their best lives. Please feel free to call us now and book an appointment.

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