Queenslanders clock up unhealthy screen time

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift shares her top tips to help you improve your wellbeing by switching off.

Televisions, smartphones, computers, and tablets – screens consume our time from the moment we wake up, until the moment we turn out the lights.

But is the digital world having a detrimental effect on our health?

On average, Australians spend 10 hours and 24 minutes engaging with their internet-connected devices every day – with 23 per cent of consumers spending more time on their smartphone than talking to their partner or friends.*

We’re plugged in at work, on the train, at home, when exercising and even during meal times.

Cancer Council’s 2016 Everyday Health Survey found more than half of all Queenslanders eat in front of a TV, computer, phone or tablet at least four times a week, and eight per cent for every meal.

Excessive screen time can hinder our brain function and deteriorate vision, and increase our risk of obesity and other health related issues.

So how do we cut back? Here are our top three tips:

One, establish boundaries: If you find yourself glued to your smartphone or binge-watching your favourite show until your eyes sting and neck starts to ache – it’s definitely time to cut back. Limiting the amount of time you spend in front of screens is important for your health and wellbeing. Start by turning off your devices during meal times or cutting back to 30 minutes of television a day. Set strict rules, find a trusted friend or partner to help keep you accountable and stick to it.

Two, turn off before you tuck in: Research shows that screen time straight before bedtime can seriously hinder sleeping patterns. Scrolling through social media or catching up on the latest news can stimulate the brain and increase levels of alertness, making it difficult to nod off. In turn, this can affect energy levels and productivity during the day. Put away all devices at least one hour before bedtime.

Three, find a hobby: Take your focus offline to help break any unhealthy obsessions with technology. Whether you join the gym, take up yoga, learn a musical instrument or start painting – a screen-free hobby will help rejuvenate your body and elevate stress the right way. Your body will thank you for it!

If you start to show symptoms of a digital addiction, swap the screen for some face time – the real face time, that is.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at http://www.cancerqld.org.au or call Cancer Council on 13 11 20.


*Ernst & Young, Digital Australia: State of the Nation 2015-16

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171