The wonders of technology know no bounds. We can communicate with people on opposite sides of the world without hassle; with just a few clicks, we can have previous entertainment decades can only think of; and we can access the world with just a tiny device that fits in our pockets. Yet, as incredible as technology sounds, it poses threats. This post will discuss the dangers of screen addiction.
Too much of anything is wrong; that is a commonly thrown-around truth. In the case of staring at a screen, this truth is doubtlessly applicable. Too much reliance and use of a screen device are harmful.
The Harms of Senior Screen Addiction
Screen addiction is bad for any age; habit is bad, period. But for seniors, screen addiction has effects that are not so prominent on younger people. Here’s the list of the terrible consequences of screen addiction for the elderly.
Expedited Gray Matter Atrophy
Atrophy is the decline of organic tissue due to lack of use. Gray matter is the darker tissue of the brain; it is responsible for controlling movement, memory, and emotions. The National Library of Medicine published a study about addiction behavior that shows the strong effect of internet gaming addiction to gray matter. The study showed that people addicted to internet gaming have significantly reduced the volume of gray matter in their brains. The most affected area of the brain is the frontal lobe, which makes us capable of effective planning, successful organizing, and controlling our impulses.
The insula, responsible for allowing us to feel compassion and express sympathy, is also heavily damaged by internet gaming addiction.
Internet gaming addiction is just one manifestation of screen addiction.
Reduced White Matter
Aside from the gray, the brain also has white matter. The gray matter covers the brain’s exterior while the white weight is within. It is responsible for keeping the communications between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Therefore, a spotty-looking white matter in the brain indicates diminishing white value.
What does this do to the brain? Since white matter is responsible mainly for managing the signals in the brain, its reduction causes slower and frequently-interrupted brain signals. In other words, emotional and cognitive decline is just around the corner.
Compromised Dopamine Function
Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that is more addictive than endorphin, another hormone that makes us feel good. When we game, browse the internet or get likes, attention, or any validation in social media, the brain releases the dopamine hormone. The release of dopamine for every like on Facebook makes us addicted to those likes.
The dopamine transmitters and receptors get damaged as we seek that juicy hormone. So we go for more likes or browse the internet for something else that will give us dopamine that we make ourselves insensitive to its effects.
What makes the relationship between screen addiction and damaged dopamine receptors and transmitters more troubling is that they replicate the effects of drug and alcohol addiction. Those who suffer from screen addiction will have the same effects as drug addicts and alcoholics. Their cognitive abilities decline as they damage their frontal lobes – among other parts of the brain – as they expose themselves to screens for long.
Screen Addiction Destroys Sleeping Habits
Screen addiction destroys your sleeping habits in two ways. The first way is you don’t want to drop your phone because you have to keep staring at it. The second reason that screen addiction destroys your sleeping habits is that screens emit blue light.
Blue light has the most negative effect on the brain’s melatonin secretion, the Harvard Medical School published. Melatonin plays a significant part in maintaining our circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is the scientific term for our sleeping pattern.
Blue light destroys the sleeping pattern because it makes the brain think it is daytime even if it’s already dark outside. In addition, staring at a screen all day and night confuses your brain about when to release the sleep-inducing melatonin. The result is a sleeping habit torn to shreds.
Contribution to Obesity
Someone addicted to screens, whether to phones or computers, is most likely living a sedentary and inactive lifestyle. The lack of physical activity is a huge contributor to obesity. Whether you are young or old, you are not safe from the obesity-conducive effects of screen addiction. Too much sitting and staring at the TV, gaming computer, phone, plus the lack of physical activity is a health-risk time bomb.
As already discussed above, screen addiction limits how we feel compassionate and express sympathy. Plus, it also breaks apart our ability to handle. These several factors contribute to the detriment of your relationships. The inability to feel, be compassionate, and express sympathy is roadblocks to forming and maintaining deep and meaningful relationships.
Furthermore, screen addiction takes away precious moments in social or family gatherings. Imagine having dinner with someone who can’t stay off their phone long enough to hold a two-way conversation. Drop the phone; it’s easy to get sucked in for hours with Facebook or Youtube.
Enough with the Screen!
Screen addiction has tons more harmful effects than those discussed in this post. We can’t cover them all, but suffice it to say that screen addiction is a problem you don’t want in your life. Limit your screen time by all means necessary. Get help if you need to.
Other Options Besides Technology
If you rely on technology for essential things in your life, there are other ways to get the same benefits without the tech. For example, the home care services of Infinite Love Homecare are all-encompassing. We care for the elderly in any way that they need. Medication reminders, transportation, personal grooming, light housekeeping, meal preparation, surgical recovery, hospice care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and more services are readily available to the seniors of Orange, California.
For a free consultation, contact us through our website or call (949) 529-4130 for a free in-home assessment. Our office is at City Tower, 333 City Blvd. West Suite 1700, Orange, CA 92868.