Some of the indirect negative effects associated with too much screen time on electronic devices: poor sleep, unhealthy diet, less physical activity, and less interaction with the real world. Direct effects to electronic device overload are eye strain along with deficits in attention, learning, and memory.
As video game and screen time usage reach unprecedented levels, studies reveal consequences for more than eyes and brain.
A study published in Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery finds that playing video games is associated with shoulder and elbow pain in young elite male baseball players.
Using a keyboard, touch screen, mouse, or video game controller requires repetitive movement from fingers, hands, and wrists, and creates constant tension on forearms and shoulders. Tense muscles pull on connective tissue, increasing the odds of elbow and shoulder pain—especially for athletes in overhead sports like baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, and basketball.
Many mental adverse effects for learning and memory are directly related to interacting with devices.
Award winning Integrative Psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria L. Dunckley says, “In short, it is not an exaggeration to say that technology is dumbing us down.” Screen time makes us less attentive and less able to learn, remember, and think for ourselves.”
How important are these mental attributes to sports?
Attention—the ability to focus—is important while listening to instructions from a coach as well as during structured drills and games. It’s also important to the drive needed to practice skills independently. Lack of focus eventually leads to decline in skills and performance.
The ability to learn is a key component to improving skill and mental aptitude for sports. Inhibiting learning inhibits athletic development.
Remembering what you learned is essential to improving and excelling in sports. Most sports are fast-paced and require quick independent decision-making. Athletes who lack the ability to think for themselves will fall behind those who have good decision-making skills.
It’s the emotional influence of excessive screen time that becomes the most concerning. One study shows that disproportionate screen time is associated with lower levels of well-being and higher diagnoses of anxiety and depression. Signs of unhealthy psychological effects of electronic use begin at any time more than 1 hour per day.
To ensure improved mental, physical, and emotional health in both sports and life, limit screen time to no more than 1 hour per day.