Screen time these days is more or less equivalent to free time (unless you stare at computers all day for work, which is what most people do anyway). But you can't really deny that ever since the pandemic began, many people have had too much free time on their hands. 

Screen time girl
(Photo : Getty Images )

This free time (which can lead to increased screen time) can be very bad for you, according to a new study. A team of scientists led by marketing researcher Marissa Sharif from the University of Pennsylvania have found that too much free time can actually do more harm than good, reports ScienceAlert

The study took data from 21,736 individuals spanning 2012 and 2013. These people participated in the so-called American Time Use Survey, wherein they provided details of what they did during the last 25 hours. They were also asked to state the actual time of day and how long they did each activity. 

Afterwards, the people were tasked to report their sense of well-being. This is when researchers found that as the people's free time increased, well-being did increase with it but would eventually level off at two hours. It started declining after five hours of free time, according to the American Psychology Association

Sharif and her colleagues then concluded that having too much free time can undermine anybody's sense of purpose and productivity, which will leave them dissatisfied.

Read also: Most-Used Apps on Your iPhone Can Be Traced, Here's How

Screen Time and Newfound Free Time: The Perfect Pandemic Couple 

Ever since the world went into quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions upon millions of people suddenly found too much free time on their hands. All of those hours they used to spend during their to and from-work commutes are now part of their free time. 

And how would people these days often use their free time? By consuming tech. This exclusively involves looking at screens all day, every day. With too much free time on their hands, their screen time increased. 

You should know by now that too much screen time does bad things for your health. It seems to be even worse in young children, where high levels of screen time coincided with developmental delays. 

How Do You Lessen Your Screen Time? 

With all that extra free time in your hands caused by the pandemic, you don't really have to just rely on tech to keep yourself occupied. There are so many other things you can do in quarantine aside from watching Netflix or playing video games all day. 

Lessening your screen time could be as simple as finding offline alternatives such as books and exercise. Who's to say that physical books are "outdated" these days? There are plenty of excellent ones out there that you can read, and not one of them has the innate dangers of blue light emanating from a screen. 

Using Extra Free Time Wisely 

The basic premise of the study is this: free time is at its absolute best if you use it wisely. This rings especially true during this global pandemic, where you have to juggle working and recreation in a way you've never done before. 

Related: How to Make You Calm Down After Spending a Hectic Day?

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Written by RJ Pierce 

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