Clinical Psychologist, Seth Asafo says spending long hours behind electronic screens is one of the reasons cause of mental health issues among the youth.
Regardless of the fact that social media serves as a source of education and entertainment, young people dedicate the majority of their day to screen time.
Speaking on Prime Morning, Mr Asafo stated that although screen time has its benefits, it robs people of real-life experiences, making it difficult for children to interact with their peers and killing problem-solving skills in people.
“Screen time is the reason many of our children lack problem-solving skills. Secondly, because of screen time, children don’t interact…if single-handedly we were to give any accolades to why Gen Z’s mental health is struggling, screen time would be number one,” he said on Tuesday, April 11.
He also revealed that an MRI scan of the brain of a child addicted to screen time shows the same results as someone addicted to hard drugs and narcotics.
This, according to Mr. Asafo, is because all addictions are the same and operate in the exact same part of the brain.
The mental health advocate further explained that children were allowed to play and freely interact with one another in the past, but in recent times, parents have introduced electrical gadgets to their children, limiting their human interaction, which is not healthy.
Exposing and teaching children to relate with others helps improve their socialisation skills, stabilise their environment, and also helps them adapt problem-solving mechanisms easily.
He also mentioned that screen time can cause vicarious anxiety due to how the youth strive to achieve perfection because of the information they consume on a daily basis through social media.
According to him, these trends make people begin to create unrealistic goals for themselves.
“Then to make it worse, people now also, because of screen time, have to go through vicarious anxiety. Anxiety as a result of just observing. What’s on the news today? Shooting here and there, and this creates constant fear in people… The internet and social media are giving us a certain persona, which is perfection. So kids are striving for perfection,” he said.
Due to the malleability of the human brain, it reacts to things that it is fed. This is why the clinical psychologist and mental health advocate advised the youth to minimise their screen time.
He encouraged young people to learn to communicate, share ideas and thoughts with one another, and find healthy ways of managing stress to preserve their mental health.