How does the laptop occupy our time? We spend on average 4 hours and 7 minutes in front of the computer a day, whether in the office at work, at the home office, or while playing online video games.
This is, however, the barest minimum for some users, as we’ve seen people mention spending up to 12 hours in front of their PC for leisure, academics, or professional reasons. It shows how these devices (not just laptops but also tablets and smartphones) have now taken over our daily lives.
This then prompts the question of the health consequences, among others, which we will address in this post.
What do we spend our PC screen time on?
Below is an analysis of what we spend our time doing in front of the laptop.
Today most jobs cannot be done without a PC. In all offices, you work in front of a computer, and the problem is that you cannot find an alternative to this way of working. So, at least we are investing 4 to 5 hours of our time in front of a computer. And this is if you are one of the lucky ones who only work part-time.
However, full-time workers often see the computer more than their families – they spend an average of 8 hours a day at work and mostly glaring at the PC. Therefore, just by working, we would already be using the computer between 5 and 8 hours approximately. In addition, some of us still spend our personal time using the Internet for various other reasons after work.
We like to be informed, to know what is happening around us. So much so that there are times when so much information that we seek gets us engrossed. Therefore, from being informed, we can be information-intoxicated or “infoxicated.“
The best means to search for information is the Internet. We usually access it from our PC as computers allow us to see information more clearly and conceptually. In addition, the screen is bigger; we can see everything at once and read faster. This way, we get more information in a shorter time.
Therefore, to the time we spend working in front of the computer, we have to add the time we spend looking for information. We cannot count it in a fixed and equal way. Each person will seek more or less information and be more or less interested, but almost everyone – most especially students – usually use the laptop to get information.
However, many people have already replaced the computer with the mobile phone to search for information. So the time we spend using the laptop becomes occupied by the mobile. Let’s not think that this is beneficial for our health; on the contrary, it is still harmful because we expose our eyes to another type of screen whose glares and radiation come closer to our faces than when using the laptop.
The laptop provides us with a different type of leisure. We surf the Internet, see our social networks, and above all, play video games. The use of social networks has been delegated to mobile phones. But now, we use computers to play games, thanks to the boom in the gaming industry. It is no longer necessary to have a console to play. It is enough to have a moderately good gaming laptop built for that.
There are many different online video games aimed at different types of audiences and many varieties. Hence, the computer has become a suitable device for playing video games in recent years.
According to a 2019 research report, young people spend more than 8 hours of their weekly PC screen time playing video games, and the number was growing by around 25% as of then.
If we add the hours spent working, those we spend looking for information, and playing games, we would be spending at least 10 hours using the laptop every day.
How much time do we spend on screens in a lifetime?
A 2020 study determined that the average adult person spends an average of 34 years of their life looking at screens. This represents nearly half of a person’s average life expectancy (of 72), and it is more than the time spent sleeping (between 25 and 27 years).
The health consequences
All this time spent in front of the computer screen can have health impacts, both on physical fitness and eyesight or sleep.
Spending time staring at screens can affect the quality of vision. Studies show that digital screens can lead to myopia problems or premature eye fatigue.
Did you know? Digital screens act as a stimulant for the brain, like coffee, tea, or alcohol. Thus, 87% of young people (15-24 years old) consider themselves sleep-deprived. And screen time is linked to insomnia. More than 45% of young people say they use their digital devices before going to bed, and they spend several minutes or hours doing this.
On physical activity
The time spent in front of the computer is very often static, which reduces the duration of physical activity practiced daily.
A longer sedentary lifestyle can lead to:
- Muscle pain in the back, neck, or arms. Poor posture can also lead to more serious health problems.
- high blood pressure
Has the laptop improved our lives and become our best ally? Indeed, yes. The computer is our best ally to carry out several tasks, buy online, search for information, work, watch TV, play video games, etc. But that means we spend too many hours in front of the computer. As a result, we now use our computers almost as much time as we spend sleeping.
However, it is practically impossible to escape technology. We will likely run away from the computer and probably switch to another device that can be more addictive than the one we are running from — for instance, a smartphone, a tablet, a smartTV, or a console. So, the ideal is to deliberately create a balance and reduce exposure to daily digital screen time.