So, screen time relates to any device, computer, tv you have and how much time you spend on them. It can be recreational – playing games etc, educational – researching online, non – interactive – like watching movies, clips online, or interactive – like using video chat, Skype etc.
For adults, screen time is a difficult thing to put a time limit on, as many people use computers as a tool for work, their phones for research on the net etc. Technology addiction is a real thing, it impacts the same area of the brain as drugs and alcohol, and It becomes an addiction when it starts to impact everyday life – relationships with your children, your friends and most importantly your spouse.
After somebody has a TBI the brain is in need of some serious tlc, it needs to rebuild itself again. While I was an impatient in hospital, I used to just sleep a lot (when your sleeping the brain repairs itself). I wasn’t aloud any technology at all – nothing! I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now, and I’m paranoid about screen time for me, for my son – only being 2 so it should really be limited throughout the day as it’s said to impact on their development.
I have read many books over the years about brain plasticity, and some have been very helpful in broadening my understanding on the whole concept. But now it’s like I only have short term memory, and very long term memory (before my accident). Yes – I do remember certain everyday things, but there is a lot I can’t, so from everything I have read, I have only retained a very small amount of it. I do find it helpful to take notes – I have like a million note pads around the house!
Regardless of my struggles, I wasn’t going to let my impairments stop me from becoming a mum. I was always going to be a mum – I did think when I was a bit younger, but everything in life happens for a reason. Screen Time is a hell of a lot harder when your a new mum, all sleep deprived, some days all you can do is watch things on tv (things that don’t require you to use your brain).
I think it’s all about finding the right balance – At lunch interact with your work colleagues, for dinner have a rule that there are no phones at the table and you all sit there and have dinner as a family. Find other things in your day where you can take a break from technology – when you exercise or play out doors with your kids in the afternoons, and here’s a crazy idea – go to the toilet without your phone!
Everyone’s frontal lobe functions better with less screen time, it’s better for your planning and problem solving. Its a really good idea to make it a habit (and for some I know this is unrealistic) to put down all technology a few hours before going to bed. I found it helpful to write out a list of what I have to do the following day, read books or magazines. It has also helped me get a better, more restful sleep at night.
Even for those who haven’t suffered from a TBI, it’s a great idea for your health & wellbeing to make conscious decisions when it comes to screen time – for yourself and for your family. Nothing shits me off more than someone who sits down for dinner with their phone (yes husband, I’m looking at you!), spend time with your family, talk to them, interact with your kids! They just want to spend time with you!
I found this website to be very informative, having a TBI, I wasn’t allowed any screen time until my brain met a certain stage of the recovery process.