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Six things about too much screen time

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Employee Benefit News just published an article about the consequences of too much screen time, which was really great. And we're not just saying this because they also just gave Quizzify an award for our digital innovations. And this is a real award too, which is defined as one you:

  1. don't have to pay for;

  2. don't even have to apply for, like a MacArthur Grant or a Nobel (or a Darwin, I suppose).

This article presented some factoids which should be very familiar to Quizzi-fans. Naturally, being a healthcare trivia company, we will add a few more. But first let's summarize theirs.

First, the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds at an object 20 feet away. This prevents eyestrain.

Second, you really can become near-sighted by staring at a computer screen all day. Yes, "pseudo myopia" caused by too much screen time is a thing. It is usually temporary. Nonetheless, the word "usually" doesn't exactly inspire confidence, given that it is our vision we're talking about here. So follow the 20-20-20 rule. We agree with the Soup Nazi on this one. Don't push your luck.

Third is the question of blue light. They recommend blue light-filtering glasses. There appears to be little value if used during the day, but a blue-light filter at night may help your body's biorythms.

We would add a fourth point: iPhones and Androids have blue light filters, called Night Shift and Night Light respectively. You can set your filter, via Settings, to go on automatically at a specific time of day. Here is all you need to know about blue light.

Why is blue light important? Because it can keep you awake. If you have trouble sleeping, try a time setting that starts filtering out the blue light an hour or two before bedtime. Don't take our word for it -- here is Harvard Medical School on this topic.


Quizzify presents two additional eye-friendly factoids

No knock against Employee Benefit News for overlooking these next two. After all, their articles land in your mailbox free. If they could do everything free that you pay Quizzify for, you wouldn't need Quizzify now, would you? So here are two more.

While we are on the subject of blue light, Quizzify also teaches that the energy-efficient curcilue bulbs that we are all supposed to be using now give off much more blue light than the regular old Thomas Edison-style incandescent bulbs.

So you can swap the new bulbs out for the old ones in your bedroom, particularly if you work there before bed. If you don't want your kids to make fun of you ("Hey, Dad, the 1890s called. They want their technology back"), there are energy-efficient curlicue bulbs that also filter out blue light.

Finally, and most importantly, the Employee Benefit News article quite correctly mentions the risk of dry-eye from Zoom meetings. We don't blink as often as we should during these meetings. Most people would assume that the solution is to use eye-moistening drops, which is half right. The problem is, there are are two types of such drops. At the risk of using highly technical jargon, they are:

  1. The kind that is good for your eyes

  2. The kind that is bad for your eyes.

You don't exactly need to hire an ergonomics consulting firm to show you the difference. The first kind looks like this, and comes in a box.

They are called "single use vials," but just between us, one vial can last all day. There are a zillion brands, with slight differences between them. Like some are heavier (marketed as "long-lasting"), but we find they impede your vision for the first half-hour or so.

The ones we would avoid, as we've noted before, are the bottled drops. Particularly the ones that "get the red out." (No names, but rhymes with Shmi-zine.)

These are fine for occasional use, but for everyday use, we'd steer clear. They contain an ingredient that constricts blood vessels. We really doubt it's a good idea to second-guess a zillion years of evolution sending blood to nourish tired eyes.


Want to teach employees about too much screen time, or eye care generally? Ask Quizzify for quizzes on those exact topics. That, of course, assumes you are already a Quizzify customer or are signing up now. Otherwise, no quiz for you!


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