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Replace screen time with green time to reduce anxiety

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Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 9:18 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Research has linked an increase in screen time to an increase in mental illness in young adults.

In response, the Texas Medical Association is encouraging people to turn their screens off and find other ways to spend their time, preferably activities involving sunshine and fresh air.

The statewide campaign, Turn It Off, says there’s been a rise in depression, anxiety and suicide associated excessive screen time. The Texas Medical Association encourages Texans to replace screen time with reading or time outdoors.

Diagnostic radiologist Eman Attaya says our brains are triggering the same reward response people get from drugs when they use electronic devices. Researchers have even noted structural and functional changes in the brains of frequent gamers.

“Certain parts of the brain are starting to become atrophied. They’re predicting that there’s going to be a cognitive decline in Generation Z, because they are so addicted to these devices,” Attaya said.

Attaya said studies are showing the younger a child is when you give them a device, the more addicted and dependent they become. She suggests delaying giving them a smart device or discuss turning off phones together as a family and using that time for healthier alternatives.

“They actually took blood samples from the kids who spent some time outside and noticed that their stress hormone levels went down. So activities like that, definitely going outside, reading - because these devices are replacing our literacy time,” Attaya said.

You can find more information about the campaign here.

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