The digital world has become an integral part of everyday life. Not only is this one of the most effective means to speak with friends and family, but social media channels now represent the means by which we keep up with the latest news and current events. However, does this lifestyle pose any risks to our health? Let us take a look at some potentially negative side effects associated with a reliance upon the social media domain in order to appreciate what may be at risk.
Readers may be shocked to learn how much time the average user spends interacting with social media platforms. In fact, a recent study found that the average user within the Russian Federation devotes 136 minutes each day to such virtual interactions (1). Here are some other interesting statistics in terms of time spent in relation to a handful of European countries:
- Portugal: 139 minutes
- Ireland: 113 minutes
- United Kingdom: 110 minutes
The main issue here is that the majority of these individuals will remain sedentary during their sessions. This can lead to numerous health concerns such as obesity, poor diet and even an increased risk of developing heart disease with age.
Eye Problems Over Time
Another concern which can be linked to the data mentioned in the previous section involves the effects that digital display screens have upon our eyes. Modern displays emit a type of light known as “blue light”. Blue light can lead to issues such as chronic headaches, muscular strain and dry eyes. Disrupted sleeping patterns can likewise lead to both physical and mental fatigue.
The good news is that it is now possible to obtain a pair of specialised screen glasses that can help to block the majority of this light. Not only are such glasses ideally suited for those who spend hours within social media circles, but they are just as useful for programmers, bloggers and indeed anyone who is constantly exposed to the light from display screens.
Mental Health Issues
It is also very important to highlight the potentially detrimental mental health effects associated with spending an inordinate amount of time interacting with social media portals. While this is indeed an excellent form of communication, it can often lead to isolation from the physical world. This may lead to feelings of anxiety and depression if left unchecked. Although not everyone will encounter such scenarios, it should be mentioned that living solely within the virtual domain is neither healthy nor natural. This is particularly relevant for parents, as limiting the time that their children spend on social media pages could very well lead to long-term mental health benefits.
There is no doubt that social media has become an integral part of our lives. However, the statistics highlighted above also need to be considered if we are to find a healthy balance between digital interactions and remaining firmly planted within the real world.