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Browsing your phone like this every day makes people more likely to be depressed-- you may have already done so.

Being addicted to electronic screens may be a common problem of modern people.

By gaisndm HawkshawPublished 2 years ago 4 min read

After a whole day in front of a laptop, we also play TV shows and browse social media at night to relax.

This behavior is exacerbated by the arrival of the epidemic, and we focus on putting ourselves through the hard times while ignoring the long-term damage that electronics can cause.

First, there is growing evidence that the sedentary lifestyle of watching computers and TV is an important risk factor for depression.

Next, a 2017 study showed a somewhat grim finding: adults who watch the screen for more than six hours a day are more likely to suffer from depression.

The study included 3201 American adults aged 20 and older who reported their screen time accumulated by watching TV every day and using a computer in their spare time, while the frequency of depressive symptoms was diagnosed by the results of the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9) questionnaire.

The study found that about 8% of subjects suffered from moderate or severe depression, while those who used the screen for more than 6 hours were more likely to suffer from moderate or severe depression than those who used it for 4-6 hours.

This is consistent with the findings of another study that adults who spend more time using screens have more sleep problems, which may affect their ability to resist stress, leading to increased depression or anxiety.

The study also found that women, less educated people and people below the poverty line had a higher risk of depression.

Women's higher risk of depression may be related to pregnancy-related anxiety and sedentary lifestyle.

Some scholars who study postpartum depression have found that pregnancy can lead to reduced physical activity, increased screen use and depression.

Attention crisis.

Excessive use of electronic devices not only brings the risk of depression, but also decreases cognitive function and attention as the screen is used for more time.

Michael Manos, director of the attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Assessment Center (ADHD Center for Evaluation and Treatment at Cleveland Clinic) at the Cleveland Clinic, said that children aged 5 and under who spend more than two hours a day on electronic screens are nearly eight times more likely to be diagnosed with attention-related disorders such as ADHD.

This is mainly because the brain works under the influence of both automatic and active attention.

Automatic attention (automatic attention) is related to the default mode network of the brain, which has no purpose in advance and does not require will effort.

It is aroused when we interact with things that are easy to attract, such as browsing social media, playing video games and watching TV.

Active attention (directed attention), which is associated with the task active network, is a kind of attention with conscious purpose, predetermined purpose, and requires a certain will effort when necessary.

We take advantage of it when we focus on boring (and sometimes boring) tasks such as studying, reading and folding clothes.

Manos points out that more strenuous activities require a lot of active attention, while "browsing your phone can make the real world seem rather dull", which makes people reluctant to pay attention.

When children get used to the fast and frequent stimuli on the screen, it is difficult to concentrate on training or tasks that are not so interesting but necessary in life.

How this generation of people born in a highly digital world will be affected in adulthood is unclear because their screens have been used for an unprecedented period of time in human history.

But there is evidence that the incidence of ADHD in young people has increased: according to a study published in JAMA Network Open in 2018, the rate of ADHD diagnosis is 4% higher than it was two decades ago.

Experts say this is a worrying increase.

But it is not clear whether longer and longer use of the screen will really lead to ADHD, or it may be a correlation rather than a cause and effect.

Change the structure of the brain.

Excessive use of electronic screens may even change the physiological structure of children's brains.

According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2019 by John Hutton, a clinical researcher and director of the Center for Reading and Cultural Exploration (Reading & Literacy Discovery Center) at Children's Hospital Cincinnati (Cincinnati Children's Hospital), preschoolers who spend more time on screens have poor integrity of white matter in their brains, which is thought to be associated with learning ability and coordination of communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Hutton further studied the brain activity of children when using electronic devices for learning activities.

He recorded brain images of children reading animated stories and traditional picture books on the screen and found that when children read picture books, the activity of the language network in the brain decreased significantly, while the brain areas that process vision were highly concentrated.

This work found that the high degree of activation of the visual network may be at the expense of endogenous imagination.

For example, traditional picture storybooks guide children to look at pictures when they hear illustrations-steps that exercise their imagination and connect pictures and texts.

But this is not the case with animated stories based on electronic screens.

Hutton points out that children face the possibility of not developing normally when this part of the brain is not fully utilized.

Although it is not clear what this means for children and adults who spend too much time in the digital world.

Most worryingly, our brains have not yet evolved to cope with the onslaught of visual stimulation and instant gratification.

Maybe that's why adults who look at the screen for more than six hours a day

Science

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gaisndm Hawkshaw

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    gaisndm HawkshawWritten by gaisndm Hawkshaw

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