NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Home, work, rest and play: It’s all wrapped up into the same space right now, and most of that time is spent looking at a screen.
CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge went searching for some tips to deal with technology fatigue.
While it’s nice to stay connected – with Zoom meetings, family Facetime calls, endless Netflix and scrolling on our phones – coronavirus isolation has everyone spending more time than ever staring at screens.
“I’m in front of my computer, and then when you sign off, you’ve got the phone and the TV and the tablets and everything else,” said Allison Skorupski of Long Island. “So it’s like, you’re literally not not looking at a screen unless you’re sleeping.”
We can see the proof of how much more time we are logging online: Apple sends its users weekly screen time reports, letting people know how much they’re on their phones and what apps they are using down to the minute. Since quarantine, those times have surged.
“I’ve gone to 14, 15, 16 hours and I’m like, what am I doing?” said Indigo Forbes, child behavioral therapist.
As weeks go by in isolation, this also means cases of digital eye strain and headaches are spiking, says Dr. Chad Dockter, an optometrist with Eyesafe Vision Health.
“The biggest issue with the screen is really the blue light that emanates from the screen. It’s this unseen infrared portion of light which is very damaging to the eye, especially the retina,” said Dockter.
Dockter says the blue light also tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime when it’s not and affects melatonin production needed for sleep.
Luckily there are ways to filter out the blue light.
For example, on your iPhone or iPad settings, you can set it to Night Shift mode. It alters your screen temperature, filtering it out.
That simple fix may be more realistic right now than trying to put your phone down for a whole day, but if you can, psychologist Amanda Fialk says a small break can be a big help.
“Have technology-free zones in your house where you don’t have your phone at the dinner table, you don’t have the phone in the bedroom,” said Fialk.
Fialk also says differentiate between the quantity versus the quality of screentime. For example, the most harmful form is mindlessly scrolling. Instead, choose active and engaged time like watching a documentary with your family, then discussing it.
Most importantly, assess which interactions make you feel good and cut out those that do not.
The key during this time, experts say, is balance.