The breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected everyone. It has made us adapt to drastic lifestyle changes, such as staying indoors, working from home, studying through online classes and tutorials, shopping online, etc. As has always been the case, people worldwide have attempted to change and adapt to the times when the situation demanded them to.
Being aspirants, you are your boss, and it’s your responsibility to give your best in every situation. Moreover, being a NEET-PG aspirant, it would be more challenging for you to adjust to lockdown situations. Studying all day in isolation without friends or study groups for assistance is easier said than done.
In-person classes help you stay motivated, offer assistance and a healthy level of competition that’s very hard to replicate in online classes. There’s also the benefit of asking your teacher questions and getting your doubts resolved. The pandemic proved to be very challenging and stressful for many NEET students, with most people spending 6+ hours of screen time for online classes.
Studying in a stressful situation is not good for any aspirant’s physical and mental health. Let’s look at how increased screen time has affected NEET PG aspirants.
Distance learning and long hours of screen time
For all students, including NEET PG students, the physical classroom has swiftly changed into Google and Zoom meetings, requiring them to stay more focused on the screen during online classes.
Distance and online learning models have pretty much-compelled students to stay glued to their screens for long hours, hardly beneficial for their mental and physical health. Besides this, online education consultations have also significantly increased as most people had to stay home for safety.
There are a lot of alternatives to learning online and spending too much time on the Internet.
Has increased screen time become an unavoidable part of NEET PG students’ lives?
Today, almost all activities are incomplete without technology. Regardless of whether you are a NEET PG aspirant or not, you will need to deal with screens to get your work done.
Though spending time online for classes is hardly avoidable these days, you can always minimize its negative impact. Let’s find out how to deal with too much screen time.
You can handle the harmful effects of looking at a screen for too long in the following ways:
Self-motivation is the only thing that can keep you from feeling distracted. Being a NEET PG aspirant, it’s essential for you to take a deep breath and focus on your problems without turning to things like social media or gaming to feel better. A self-driven student knows their issues very well and solves them very maturely.
Find great company
Your future will be decided by the company you keep, therefore, always choose well and look for wise people to be friends with. A self-driven group of friends will help you grow, stay motivated, and clear your NEET PG exams.
Reward yourself daily
Set your goal daily and check if you’ve achieved it or not by the end of the day. This way, you can keep growing gradually. Take out a few hours from your routine for the most challenging topics and subject areas, and make sure you cover them on time. Once you are done with them, you can reward yourself by watching a good movie, reading a great book, or even eating something you love. This will go a long way in keeping you calm, motivated, happy, and focused.
Is there safe screen time for NEET PG aspirants?
There is no such thing as safe screen time for NEET PG aspirants today, and they are bound to rely on it to access study materials and preparing for exams. Though they can excel in the exams, excess stress on the eyes can cause severe issues in the long run. Hence, it is essential to manage screen time to avoid eye strain and safely continue learning online at home.
Harmful effects of excess screen time for NEET PG aspirants
Research proves that excess screen time damages the physical and mental health of students.
Here are the ill effects that doctors or medical interns involving in excess screen time for NEET PG exam preparation might experience:
Excess exposure to screens can trigger headaches that can hamper the studies of the aspirants as they would find it challenging to focus for a longer time. It occurs because of strain on the eyes from continuous use of the screen.
Increased screen time, such as looking at the cell phone screens or TV while eating, distracts the attention and leads to overeating. Sitting at a place and looking at the screen continuously can lead to increased chances of obesity, which is one of the main reasons for heart issues.
Sleep pattern is disrupted by excess exposure to the screen, as the devices emit blue light. This reduces the melatonin levels in the body, a hormone for regulating sleep and wake-up times. A study conducted in 2019 shows that insomnia occurs in those exposed to screen 2 hours before sleep. This is especially harmful before bedtime. Hence, it is best to avoid using these devices before going to bed. It will help reduce the REM or Rapid eye movement, resulting in a relaxed feeling while waking up.
Issues related to neck and back
Longer hours of looking at the screen of a laptop, TV, or phone can cause strain on the muscles of the neck and spinal cord. This results in a slumped posture. Individuals are more likely to suffer from headaches and backaches. When longer screen time is unavoidable, it is recommended to use a device that can prop up the screen to ensure the correct posture of the neck and back.
Continuously watching the screen causes the eye muscles to get tired. This makes it difficult to concentrate. Some can even feel the pain around the temple and eyes. This also happens when the gadgets are used in low lit areas with high brightness
Extended hours in front of the screen results in spasms or temporary lock up, known as accommodation spasms. This causes the vision to become blurred when looking away from the screen. It is essential to spend more time in other interactive activities that don’t involve exposure to screens to avoid such issues.
Dryness of eyes
This is another outcome of prolonged exposure to a screen that can result in eye irritation too. The entrance exam aspirants tend to keep their eyes wide open in front of a screen, which causes the tear film to evaporate. So, a better idea is to try sticking to the books whenever possible, instead of entirely relying on the online mode of learning.
Tips for reducing screen time
Some simple tips to help the NEET PG aspirants limit the negative impacts of screen time are mentioned below:
Set specific hours for using the gadgets with screens
Due to the pandemic situation and being a NEET PG aspirant, you cannot avoid online learning, which means you have to share the screen for a few hours daily.
However, you can make up their mind to use electronic gadgets like mobile, tablets, and laptops for specific hours. Also, this will help you to stay focused on your preparations.
Track the screen time
The pandemic has significantly increased the screen time for the doctors and medical interns, but to maintain a balance, it is crucial to track the screen time. Various other apps can help in this case.
Even parents can encourage them to use the time for different recreational activities that don’t involve using electronic gadgets or at least spending quality time with family during their free time.
They can be encouraged to read books, or go out for a walk, listen to some music, practice some yoga, and do similar activities, all of which cannot just relieve their stress but can save them from the prolonged screen time’s side effects.
Mandatory physical activity
NEET PG aspirants need to be involved in physical activities at least for an hour every day. This will keep them engaged and prevent them from using electronic gadgets for longer during their leisure time. It forms a perfect workout for their vision as they can focus on objects at different distances and get sufficient sunlight needed for their overall well-being.
Joining a fitness, yoga, or dance class is a great option to consider. Inculcating such practices into one’s routine helps induce sleep quickly and thus prevents the individuals from looking at the screen before bedtime.
Follow the 20/20/20 rule
This rule states that an individual needs to look away from the screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. It is recommended to look away from the screen after every 10 minutes in an hour.
It is crucial to spend hours together in front of their laptop screen to learn different topics and practice the questions. One of the best things to do in such cases is to take a break after every 20-30 minutes, as this can help relax the eyes and the muscles of the neck and back.
In this way, you can sustain your energy levels to study for longer durations without feeling exhausted. Initially, it might be a little difficult to practice this, but taking the help of a timer or an alarm can help an individual practice this rule until it is perfected.
1/2/10 rule for correct positioning of the screen
The laptop or desktop has to be a little below an individual’s eye level because when it is at the higher level, one has to keep the eyes wide open, which dries out the tear film. Ideally, the monitor needs to be at an arm’s distance from the eyes. The viewing distance should be more while using a larger screen.
The 1/2/10 rule states that the ideal distance from the mobile phone has to be 1 foot; it is 2 feet for the laptops and desktops, and about 10 feet for TV screens based on the screen size. Besides this, the font-size also needs to be adjusted to ensure convenient reading and reduce eye fatigue.
Keep your screen gadgets far away
Try to stay away from electronic gadgets as much as possible, except online classes or when you have queries. Switch off your laptops and keep your mobile far away to avoid getting distracted from screens which are helpful for your eyes and mind.
Try to read from books
Nowadays, studying online is very common, as you can find all types of e-books for every exam, including NEET PG. Instead of reading an online edition, you can read from books that will help you to reduce screen share time. Reading and learning from books will not lead you to any distractions except your mind.
Other things you can try for reducing screen time
Here are some other tips for reducing screen time, which will help you stay occupied and mindful.
- Meditate: Meditating regularly will help you keep your mind calm, stay focused & positive, increase concentration power, and much more. Try different forms of meditation.
- Read Novels: Reading other books like fiction or nonfiction in your free time is better than wasting time and damaging your eyes by sharing a screen on social media.
- Exercise: Exercise is critical to keep your mind and body healthy. Practice exercise daily, indoors or outdoors, do anything at your convenience.
- Family Time: What happens normally? While preparing for any competitive exams, you forget to give time to your family. Try to make out some time for your family and spend quality time with them. This will help you to stay connected and get support in achieving your goals.
NEET PG aspirants need to use blue light when studying online
It is not new that technologies have become an essential part of our lives, not just at work but also at studies after this pandemic. No matter how much you try to stay away from digital blue light, you will see the electronic screen for online classes or revision daily if you are a NEET aspirant.
This means you have to face digital blue light anyhow, which may cause you eye pain, dry and irritated eye, headache, fatigue, and migraines. Blue lights affect more than we can imagine.
So, aspirants can protect their eyes from blue light exposure from screens by using special lenses that have a blue light filter coating. Let’s find a brief about blue light and its effects.
What is blue light?
Blue light has a short wavelength of 415-455 nanometers, because of which it has more energy than other types of light. Since this light is naturally available during the daytime, the human eye is used to it when the sun is up.
Now, when the eyes are exposed to the same light in a dark environment from an electronic device, our body gets confused. Too much exposure results in fatigue and also causes the eye to become dry. Those who are exposed to this for 8-10 hours are pretty familiar with such symptoms.
Are blue light filtering glasses effective?
On using the blue light glasses, the blue light gets filtered out. So while using the electronic devices wearing these, the user would have minimal adverse effects. There is no sufficient evidence showing that this light can harm the eyes, but it can cause difficulty falling asleep and cause the eyes to be strained.
This is why it is better to put on the blue light filtering glasses during longer online classes or long study hours. But one has to make sure that, even while studying online, take some breaks in between and or avoid the screen at least 30-60 minutes before bed.
Screen time has various detrimental effects on the health of NEET PG aspirants and can significantly hamper their efficiency if necessary precautions are not taken. Keeping the competitive scenario of these entrance exams in mind and the requirement for referring to online classrooms and study material, NEET PG aspirants can’t avoid screens in their daily lives altogether.
However, aspirants can take steps to reduce the harmful effects of screens and gadgets. Instead, they can read other aspirants’ notes, solve the last few years’ question papers, or try out different writer’s NEET PG exam preparation editions. Sticking to various ways of regulating screen time can help them efficiently manage the downsides of excessive screen time in the future.