“Turn It Off” to Help Mental Health Focuses on Electronic Devices


Devices like the one you might be using to read this press release can harm your health, say doctors in Texas, so they have a suggestion: turn it off.

Doctors worry that more people are suffering from mental and behavioral health problems, especially as the pandemic drags on. Doctors see links between people’s suffering and overuse of electronic devices, especially among young people who seem addicted to their phones and other screens.

To combat these problems, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) launches a new initiative, Turn it off today, to encourage families to commit to taking a break from electronic devices.

The TMA invites Texan families to turn it off today by committing to take a break from electronic devices.

Electronic devices are addictive. Turn It Off Today draws attention to the direct correlation between excessive screen time and poor emotional and physical well-being. The program aims to reduce the time people – especially children and teens – spend looking at their screens and replace those habits with healthy activities like physical activity, social interactions, reading and ‘green time’. ” outside.

“The goal of Turn It Off Today is to help families recognize that there is a direct correlation between excessive screen time and poor emotional and physical well-being, and understand that electronic devices create a addiction, ”said Eman Attaya, MD, outgoing chair of the TMA’s Council on Health Promotion, which recently launched the statewide initiative. Dr Attaya and his fellow physicians and alliance members of the Lubbock County Medical Society and Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance created and piloted Turn It Off Today in 2019 for families across the region to embrace it; The TMA program reproduces this.

The program aims to reduce the time people – especially children and teens – spend looking at their screens and replace those habits with healthy activities like physical activity, social interactions, reading and ‘green time’. ”(Time spent outdoors).

Children and teens spend at least four hours per day on a leisure screen (and up to nine hours total per day). The more time people, especially teens, spend watching social media and other activities on their screens, the higher their rates of depression and anxiety, according to several studies. Too much screen time also leads to developmental delays, lack of sleep, suicidal thoughts, lack of concentration and obesity. Watching screens for more than an hour each day is also linked to less curiosity, less self-control, less emotional stability, and a greater inability to complete tasks.

For doctors like Dr Attaya, simply turning off devices is the best solution.

“Mental health problems should be among the leading causes of illness and death in adolescents, which is why we should all be seriously concerned,” said Dr Attaya. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other pediatric medical specialists recently declared a “national state of emergency” for child and adolescent mental health.

“Yes, the pandemic has made the crisis worse; However, rates of depression, anxiety and suicide increased among young people before the pandemic – over the past 10 years – with suicide now the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24, ”he said. said Dr Attaya.

Disable features today a pact to be signed by family members, committing to limiting screen time in several ways, such as turning off phones, computers, tablets or other devices one hour before bedtime; one day a week for eight weeks; or every day from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Another pledge calls for simply turning off phone alerts, which draw people’s attention to the device. Screen time refers to the use of any digital medium such as smartphones, computers, tablets, game consoles or television.

Replacing this with more “green time” improves psychological well-being and mental health, and leads to less depression, anxiety and emotional problems.

“Once families are aware of the negative impact of screen time, they can make appropriate and wise choices about how to limit the use of electronic devices,” said Dr Attaya. “Moving away from technology will improve our overall well-being. “

Useful links


Comments are closed.