Unplug & Recharge//

3 Ways to Repair the Mental Health Damage From Constant Screen Use

Jean Twenge, Ph.D., a leading expert of technology’s impact on mental health, offers a plan to stop the madness.

Photo credit: Sorbetto/Getty Images
Photo credit: Sorbetto/Getty Images

A new analysis of a large representative survey reinforces what I — and others — have been saying: The mental health epidemic among Americans is all too real. In fact, the increase in mental health issues among teens and young adults — the generation I call iGen — is nothing short of staggering.

It’s difficult to say for sure why this is happening, but the increases began right around 2012 — exactly when smartphones became common and social media moved from being optional to mandatory. In other words, the rise began when digital life became 24/7.

If so, that might actually be good news, because how we use our phones — unlike many of the other causes of mental health issues — is something we can change and encourage our kids to change.

1. Make bedrooms a no-phone zone

No phones in the bedroom while you’re sleeping — put it as far away from your bedroom as you can. (Think you can’t do that because your phone is your alarm clock? Buy an alarm clock.)

2. No screen time 60 minutes before hitting the hay

Put down all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Almost everything we do on devices is psychologically stimulating; plus the blue light of devices suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin we need to get good rest.

3. Follow the “Two-Hour Rule”

Try to limit screen time outside of work and schoolwork to two hours a day or less.

What should you do instead? All of the things we know fulfill us as human beings: Spend time with friends and family in person. Go for a run or a swim. Watch a sunset. Read a good book. Let your smartphone be a tool you use, not a tool that uses you.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

5 Ways To Improve Mental Wellness and Create a Healthy Relationship With Technology, With Dr. Michelle Robin

by Yitzi Weiner
Unplug & Recharge//

Be careful who you sleep with

by Cesar Gamio
Unplug & Recharge//

Today’s Teens Sleep Less Than Ever Before

by Shelby Lorman

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.