Screen Time & Technology: How Exposure Affects Long Term Mental and Visual Health

Screen Time & Technology: How Exposure Affects Long Term Mental and Visual Health

By Crystal Tsui

We are privileged to live in the digital world. We can go on-line and check on with friends who are thousands of miles away or go shopping on our device during our lunch break. Everything is just a touch away and has become so accessible, but all of this comes with a price. We are exposing our children to electronic screens at such a young age, even as early as two months. Although it may be easy for busy parents to calm their child with an iPad, the harm may be greater than the immediate good. During the time we are exposing our young children to screens, their brains are still developing.

There is a period, which psychologists call the Critical Period, when children need exposure to outside stimuli from the environment around them. This is when they learn to distinguish facial expressions, social cues, and even tone of voice. If they are not exposed to the environment around them, their development could be stunted.

Prolonged screen time can affect their neurodevelopment, learning, and can result in behavioral disorders. Parents try to utilize digital screens for the purpose of education in most cases. Since digital is instant, the technology is thinking for the children. Not only that, but screens shift the nervous system into fight-or-flight mode which can cause self-regulation and stress management to be less efficient. If stress management is less efficient, children might not be able to handle daily stressors when they grow up.

Apart from mental health deficits, early screen time can cause visual deficits in children. Dr. Rahul Bhola, pediatric ophthalmologist, states that in the past few decades there has been an increase in myopia or near-sightedness. Not only has myopia been increasing, but a study found that children who were exposed to digital screens at a very young age, developed acute onset esotropia or crossing of the eyes. Many children had to have surgery to correct their eyes. However, if children must use screens (school related or not) try to limit their time and encourage outdoor activities as well as breaks from the digital world.

If you or someone you know has behavioral or attention disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

https://blog.chocchildrens.org/effects-of-screen-time-on-childrens-vision/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/behind-online-behavior/201604/what-screen-time-can-really-do-kids-brains

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201207/electronic-screen-syndrome-unrecognized-disorder

https://cdn.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/styles/article-inline-half/public/field_blog_entry_images/shutterstock_232911301.jpg?itok=d2s4ve_t

Listening: Three Ways to Become a Better Listener

listening

By: Tamar Asayan

All anyone ever wants is to be listened to when they are going through a difficult time in their life. An act as simple as listening can be the biggest help anyone can ask for. However, it can also be the hardest thing to do because listeners have a habit of relating issues back to themselves. The aim of listening is not to try to fix them or tell them what to do; instead it is to show them that you care and feel for them as they are struggling. Oftentimes, it is better to not relate issues back to yourself. People feel the need to be listened to because they want to make sure their thoughts are rational, and do not want to overthink. When we listen it reassures the person that we care and that they are not alone.

Three easy steps to becoming a better listener is to listen, understand, and respond appropriately.

  1. Listen
    • Pay attention to not only what the speaker is saying but body language as well.
    • Do not interrupt the speaker.
  2. Understand
    • This is the time to process everything the person has told you so you know how to respond appropriately.
    • Ask questions; the best types of questions to ask are open ended and reflective questions.
    • This allows the speaker to open up even more and explain what they are going through.
  3. Response
    • Address the speaker’s points.
    • Restate what they have told you.
    • Don’t complete the speaker’s sentences. This can come off rude, and interrupts your time to listen and for them to speak. Interrupting and assuming what the speaker is feeling will make them think you do not want to listen.

Sources:

https://blog.udemy.com/importance-of-listening/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-generosity-of-listening/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/become-a-better-listener-active-listening/

Image: http://throwthediceandplaynice.com/2017/12/listening-up-in-2018.html

If you or someone you know may be having trouble with communication speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

Why Dieting May Be Bad For You

Sam Kwok

As the summer months roll around, the amount of social media posts of swimsuit bodies increase. Many people believe that summer is the time for dieting to achieve a perfect body that would be praised by others on social media. To help people lose weight and get into shape, many diet plans have been developed which typically restricts those following the plan from specific food groups. Some of the most common diets are:

  • Keto: low carb, high protein
  • Raw: uncooked food
  • Vegan: no foods that come from animals (ex. Dairy, meat, honey)
  • Paleo: no foods cavemen would not have eaten (ex. Pasta, dairy)
  • Atkins: low carbs
  • Weight Watchers: company meal plan, premade food

Research has shown that healthy lifestyles have been linked to better mental health. Those who eat a balanced diet and exercise daily tend to be happier. Though these diet plans seem to encourage people to make healthy decisions, many of these plans are in fact, the very opposite of healthy as they do not promote a balanced diet. The National Heart Organization recommends that individuals eat approximately 6 servings of grains a day. Those on an Atkins and Keto diet typically eat 0-2 servings. Those following the raw food diet also lack a lot of nutrients that exist in cooked food. Plants have an extra layer within their cells known as cell walls which are meant to help the plant in providing protection and structural support. Some animals like pandas have the ability to break through this cell wall, but humans, do not. The only way for us to break down this cell wall to absorb nutrients is through cooking our vegetables.

There have also been cases of individuals who develop obsessions with diet fads and eventually develop eating disorders. Some common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. These disorders not only take a huge toll on the body physically, but they also affect the mind psychologically. When trying to get into shape, one should eat a balanced diet and exercise daily, yet many diet plans fail to include such topics. Having a stable sleep schedule as well as maintaining social relationships can affect weight as well as an individual’s esteem and should be taken into consideration when one is attempting to lose weight. Remember, you are what you eat- so eat healthy.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from an eating disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ for more information.