According to recent statistics, provisional estimates record 31.80 million mobile connections in Sri Lanka in January 2020 which is equivalent to 149% of the total population. Additionally, Sri Lanka has also seen a very strong rise in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years driven by the increase in mobile subscribers.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and increased numbers of people working from home in the past few months could in fact mean people are spending more time on their mobile phones to keep up with the news, for entertainment, fill gaps in their routine or simply to have fun and socialize.
However, spending numerous hours on the phone can have long-lasting negative effects on the body and the mind. Phone addiction is now considered a serious issue worldwide causing depression and mental health problems, especially among the youth. However, there are other dangers that you should also be more aware about.
Here are more reasons why you should mind your screen time:
Vision problems – According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), looking at a digital screen often pushes the eyes to work harder, making you more prone to vision-related problems. With lockdown and a majority of the people including youth and children engaged in various entertainment using mobile phones, eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, pain in the neck, and back are all problems that may affect your day-to-day tasks.
Sleep disruption can lead to more serious health problems – Scrolling through your social media feed right before tucking in? Perhaps this is why you feel restless in the morning. SleepFoundation.org has warned that using blue light-emitting electronic devices before bed suppresses the release of the important hormone melatonin, compromising the quality of your sleep at night and alertness and mood in the morning. Continuous sleep deprivation is also linked to health concerns like memory issues, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
Tech neck and other posture issues – Smartphones and laptops are usually used way below eye level. This leads to shoulders hunching and back slouching. It is the perfect recipe to create neck or back pain at some point. Chiropractors have also warned that this posture can destroy the natural curve of your neck and spine, which will eventually result in chronic pain and limit your mobility.
Lack of data privacy – Ever wonder why you talk about something and minutes later, you see an advertisement of it appear on your social media feed? On social media, what you do is definitely not just your business. Every like, comment, share or click you do on your social networks is collected, observed, and shared to advertisers, who can use all of this information to send you targeted advertisements. This includes your private messages on social networks! What’s more, several third-party applications (like games, filters and online polls) that use your social media profile as a log-in are usually given permission to use your private information—without telling you the extent of their access. Scared? It’s not just you. According to a Pew Research Center Study, 91% of the respondents think that they’ve lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by all kinds of entities.
In the wake of COVID-19 when the world is forced to stay, work, learn, shop, and socialize from home, spending more time with your screens is definitely unavoidable. But knowing the dangers of staying on social media for too long, we have to find ways to make our online time better to safeguard our physical and mental health. Instead of aimlessly doom scrolling for hours, focus on maintaining and creating genuine connections online. Video conferences with family and friends, for instance, can do wonders for your mood in such a stressful time.
Knowing how social media can exploit their users’ every move to their advantage, it’s a must to pick a platform that’s completely safe for social interactions. With stable video call features that support up to 20 participants, Viber empowers you to maintain quality connections with family and friends even if you’re apart. And most importantly, users have one less thing to worry about knowing that they are not spending their precious screen time securely with people they trust the most.
Viber gives users complete privacy and security. Your messages and communications are encrypted by default across all devices. Meaning, no third party can see or hear them, including people at Viber. They simply can’t use your personal data to feed you with invasive ads and manipulate you into using the app more with their algorithms, giving you less distractions and more control on how you spend your screen time and when to unplug.