How to Minimize the Effects of “Too Much Screen Time”

laptop and coffee cup with video call in progress

Over the past several years, it seemed like everywhere you went, someone was looking at a screen. People are constantly checking their smartphones or tablets while walking or sitting at coffee shops on their laptops. It seemed like screen-based technologies could not have gotten more ingrained in society, and then a pandemic hit. Unfortunately, too much screen time harms your health.

Too Much Screen Time

Suddenly, everything was virtual: work, school, social activities; and the use of screen-based technologies increased significantly. Things we used to quickly discuss in person in the workplace, clarification on a project, or response to an email thread, have now become virtual meetings that take longer and require more screen time. In addition to the increased use of screen-based meetings, we now walk and stand a lot less because we no longer have to walk from the parking lot to the building or get up to go to a colleague’s office. 

There have been many studies over the years showing the negative effects of prolonged screen time affecting physical and mental health. We know that screen time affects sleep because the blue light emitted from many screens simulates daylight and throws off the body’s circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). Increased use of technology has also increased obesity in children and adults by taking the place of physical activity. In terms of mental health, prolonged screen time in children can lead to cognitive delays and increased irritability. Furthermore, it may cause negative academic performance. It is also important to protect our eyes from too much screen exposure.

The Solution

Internally, we discuss different Wellness Topics monthly with “the Effects of Screen Time” being this month’s topic. When I mentioned that experts recommend 2 hours of total screen time per day, “way to set us up to fail, Erin”, was the response I got. There are very few professions these days that allow for screen time of fewer than 2 hours per day. Even those fields that involve manual tasks still have to check work orders, addresses, etc on their phones or tablets. It seems that we just cannot get away from screens at work. 

After thinking about this, my thoughts on screen time kept coming back to one thing. Specifically, being mindful of the amount of time spent looking at screens. Take frequent breaks, stretch, and move as often as possible. Try calling friends and coworkers when you are able instead of video conferencing. Over the weekends, try to avoid screens when possible and do activities that reconnect you to nature, such as biking or hiking, or try a new skill that you have been meaning to learn: cooking, knitting, underwater basket weaving. And, when it is safe to do so, reconnect with friends and family in person. 

On that note, I think I will grab the dog and go for a walk in the neighborhood…



Director of Occupational Health

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Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Oversaw the regional medical practices in key markets like Oregon and Northern California, ensuring consistent, quality medical care and service delivery.
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership in building and mentoring a large medical provider team, enhancing team performance and patient care standards.
  • Implemented strategic company policies and protocols, significantly improving center efficiency, clinical quality, and patient experiences.
  • Played a pivotal role in financial planning and identifying growth opportunities for healthcare services, contributing to the organization’s overall success.
  • Served as a primary point of contact for regional employer clients and insurance companies, fostering strong relationships and effective communication.
  • Maintained high medical care and case management standards through diligent supervision, chart audits, and performance metric analysis.

Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
  • Supported U.S. Marines VMFA-323 aboard the USS Nimitz, MACG-38, and VMU-3, demonstrating versatility and leadership in diverse medical environments.
  • Broad interests and significant contributions in global health, corporate medicine, and aerospace medicine, highlighting his multidisciplinary approach.
  • Proven track record as a dynamic leader, well-equipped to face the challenges in a fractional medical directorship role with innovative solutions.

Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

  • Oversees clinical operations and ensures high clinical standards across the company’s national field staff.
  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
  • Specialized in treating occupational injuries and illnesses, and provided medical surveillance and travel medicine consults at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.
  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
  • Holds leadership roles as Treasurer and President Elect of the California El Camino Real Association of Occupational Health Nurses (CECRAOHN), affiliated with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

Dr. Robert Goldsmith

Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
  • Instrumental in creating an integrated healthcare system at Novartis.
  • Former private practice in internal medicine in Stamford, Connecticut, and Medical Director consultant for GTE Corporation.
  • Transitioned to GE as a Global Medical Director in 2000.
  • Holds a medical degree from Albert Einstein College, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and completed training at Greenwich Hospital and Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Vagelos School of Medicine, Columbia University.
  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.