Too much screen time can lead to loneliness

Jan. 26, 2022

By Lexi Augustyniak
Staff Writer

Technology is a monster for mental health. There are many indicators that suggest technology does, in fact, make people feel more alone, with teenagers feeling the brunt of the impact.

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, teenagers average 7-9 hours of screen time per day, which is far too much.

People’s dependence on technology leads to reduced real-life connections and, consequently, increased loneliness. Physical interactions ward off feelings of isolation, but people are not having enough of these experiences because they are too busy using social media, playing video games and streaming shows

Too much exposure to technology and social media can also have negative effects on people’s mental health. Scrolling through Instagram and seeing carefully curated images of beautiful people doing fun activities makes people feel envious, unworthy and isolated

Furthermore, technology has led to increased rates of anxiety and depression. It is scientifically proven that screen exposure reduces melatonin production due to the blue light the phone releases. This disrupts one’s sleep patterns, and lack of sleep causes high levels of anxiety and depression, which makes a person more likely to isolate themselves.

Additionally, too much exposure to technology can lead one to feel socially awkward. Social standards online are different than in real life. Emailing, messaging, texting and video chats do not replicate in-person interactions. Therefore, technology is causing a reduction in communication skills, empathy and helpfulness. 

People’s dependence on technology leads to reduced real life connections and, consequently, increased loneliness.

Moreover, technology is negatively impacting attention spans. For example, people have trouble refraining from checking their phones, which causes a lack of attention and inability to focus. This can lead to isolation because people no longer are able to be good listeners and communicators who live in the moment. 

Technology has physical impacts that have emotional repercussions. Technology causes people to be less active, which increases rates of obesity. Obesity can make people feel self-conscious and less likely to socialize. This destructive cycle continues because loneliness and isolation increase one’s desire to eat.

Furthermore, technology, and particularly social media, can lead to a behavior known as doomscrolling, which is the tendency to continue surfing or scrolling through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening or depressing. Without time to process one’s thoughts and take a break from negative news, people become dismayed, and that impacts their mood. 

People must pay close attention to how their technology use is making them feel. If it is causing depression, anxiety or isolation, it is time to seek help or take action on one’s own.

Limiting screen time on a daily basis is important, but it is equally necessary to make time for family and friends. Participating in a game night, picnic or athletic activity in the park with those you care about are all great ways to prevent the negative impacts of technology. 

Screens are everywhere, but disciplining oneself to make time every day to step away from technology can transform one’s mental health and drastically improve one’s quality of life.

bookmark icon