Volume 37 Issue 7: More Face Time, Less Screen Time

July 1, 2017

As certain technologies begin to feel more like a necessity and less like a luxury, some
people are finding that they tend to spend less time relating to other people face-toface.
Yet, in-person social interactions are important—for your mental health and, as
some research is starting to show, for your physical health, too.


Though no conclusive cause-and-effect relationship has been established, a number of
studies have shown links with social interaction and more successful health outcomes
with certain diseases and conditions, like cardiovascular disease, for example. In recent
research, a connection was even found with greater social involvement and having a
longer life.

 

Get personal.
Relating to people through digital media, such as e-mail, is expedient and often gratifying, but slowing down and taking time to be together face-to-face can have a deep impact on your relationships—some things just can't be conveyed electronically. Make time to:

  • Phone a friend and have a good conversation

  • Gather friends or family and make a dinner together

  • Gather friends and neighbors for a party with card or board games

  • Take up a hobby with a social connection, like joining a club for painting, knitting, or quilting

  • Get together for a spa treatment like a facial or massage

 

Get physical.

Too much time in front of the screen is associated with less physical activity. Consider

spending less time with the computer and television and more time being physically

active. You might also want to look for physical activities that involve teams or include

social interactions before or after sports events or practices. Some ideas for combining

physical activity with quality time are:

  • Walk together as you talk

  • Make a date with a friend or loved one that includes some time at the gym and then a nice dinner and conversation

  • Walk or bike to a movie or play with a friend

  • Work in the garden with a friend or loved one

 

Offer some structure.
Research has shown that children of parents who set rules about screen time spend 3
fewer hours with electronics on average, compared to children with no rules. Having
similar limits for your own electronic media use could also help lessen your online time.


Really connect.
Find more time to have rewarding interactions with friends and loved ones, and you
could enjoy all the benefits—mental, physical, and emotional—that those connections
can bring.

 

U.S. Federal Occupational Health. (2011). More face time, less screen time. Retrieved June 1, 2015, from http://www.foh.hhs.gov/

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