One in two of us access our phones just before we go to bed at night and during the first three minutes after we wake up in the morning. But even as we reach for them, many of us understand that our reliance on screens is negatively harming our physical and mental health and our relationships.
Two thirds of us admit our screen time is making us more sedentary. And the impacts aren’t just negatively impacting physical health, but on society, with four out of five of us believing the rise of digital technology has increased the prevalence of misinformation.
These revelations come from new research conducted by Mainstreet Insights, an initiative of Reventure and McCrindle, which aims to use research to build flourishing communities. Talking to Neil Johnson on Vision’s 20Twenty, Main Street co-founder and Reventure managing director, Dr Lindsay McMillan, said this technology is impeding rather than enhancing our lifestyles.
Research also tells us that our dependence on screens begins early. By two years of age, average daily screen time is around 45 minutes. For teenagers and young people, it can be eight or nine hours. As Dr McMillan put it, “our phones now are almost part of our life to a point where if you take a phone away from somebody, they feel like their right arm has been cut off.”
Before the pandemic, Dr McMillan and his wife sat near a young couple at a restaurant. “On the right-hand side of the knife he had his phone, and on the right-hand side of the knife of his lady friend, she had a phone. My wife and I were having a conversation. And this couple spent all their time on their phones, referring to something on their screen to the other person across the table.”
“When the meal came, they put their phone down and kept checking their phone. And then toward the end of their conversation, which was minimal, they shared their screens on something, and concluded their restaurant experience.”