‘Too much screen time can be harmful for your health’

National 1 minute, 43 seconds


ADULTS should cut back on exposure to electronic devices as excessive screen time can adversely affect their health, urged a clinical psychologist.

Pg Hartini Pg Hj Tahir said too much screen time, which typically involves hours of sedentary activities such as watching television, working on a computer or playing with a tablet device, can cause mood swings and sleeping problems in adults.

She said the symptoms, which range from eye strain to hyperactivity and angry outbursts, occur when a person experiences sensory overload.

“(It) is not limited to children. Adults should also watch their exposure to screen time if they have problems with sleeping or are hyper, irritable, impatient...The same symptoms in children can also be shown in adults,” she said in a recent interview.

While experts advise children aged between three to 18 years to limit screen time to less than two hours a day, she said the recommended amount of screen time for adults varies.

Pg Hartini said adults should keep an eye on how much time they spend in front of the screen per day and reduce their exposure to screen time if they exhibit symptoms that are associated with sensory overload.

She also called on parents to reasonably limit their screen time in order to set a good example to their children.

In her 14 years of clinical psychology experience, she found children tend to pick up their parents’ screen time habits and may develop Electronic Screen Syndrome, a disorder in which too much screen time impairs children’s development.

“The difference is that adults are in control and they have awareness, but children don’t because they don’t know how to regulate their emotions,” she said.

Pg Hartini suggested for families to replace portions of their screen time with activities that include bonding and interaction such as playing board games, adding that parents should also “co-view” their children’s screen time content.

“If possible, try not to hand your electronic devices to your children or expose them to screen time alone without parental co-viewing.”

The Brunei Times