Screen overdose

College students who can’t escape the plethora of screens may be risking their health.

Connor Nikolic

An experiment I have wanted to complete for some time is to go an entire 24 hours without resorting to any screen time. Time and time again I have failed. Sadly, I have become another cog in a society built upon screen addiction.

Even as I write this, I have nine different tabs open on my Internet browser, ranging from ESPN to YouTube to CNN. My iPhone has alerted me to two new texts and an email, and my antiquated iPod Touch is waiting in my pocket just in case all
else fails me.

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, spending more than four hours per day on screen-based devices increases the risk of heart attack and stroke by 113 percent. Also, risk of death by any cause increases by 50 percent compared to those who spend only two hours or less using these devices.

Additional data from the 2012 Boynton Health Services student health survey shows that nearly nine in 10 University of Minnesota students report watching TV, using a computer or using a handheld device for personal use two hours or more per day.

In agreement with similar findings from the Mayo Clinic, researchers concluded that the only way to offset the health effects of sitting and watching screen-based devices too much is to place more emphasis on moving while doing work.

The Mayo Clinic recommends even minor routine changes like standing while on the phone or eating lunch or setting up a standing desk space, if possible.

Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill and many other notable figures in history purportedly used standing desks. While a standing desk may cost roughly several hundred dollars, the transition from sitting may add years to your life.

I ask you all to try reducing your daily screen time. Leave the phone in your pocket for a few hours or leave the laptop in your backpack  at home. Pry your eyes away from the football game on TV or maybe take a leisurely jog along the
Mississippi River.