West Valley Medical Center - February 17, 2015

You can spend countless hours on your phone or tablet cruising the internet and social media. Watching the latest cat video. Comparison shopping. Commenting on your friends' posts on social media.

But when you do that, you could be sacrificing other priorities like your health and wellbeing

Here's part 2 of the series on 3 Ways Your Technology Addiction May Be Ruining Your Health

3 More Ways Your Technology Addiction May Be Ruining Your Health

1. Your kid's health and school performance are declining.

Excessive media use can lead to children having attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children are spending about 7 hours a day in front of a screen. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Being a parent of a child in a time when excessive media use has become the norm is challenging. You can't completely cut them off from their gadgets, but you don't want their learning and development to suffer because of it either.

Here are 3 ways to limit screen time for your child

  1. Designate tech-free' zones in the house, like the dinner table
  2. Make it a family rule to keep all phones and gadgets in your possession before bed.
  3. Encourage free play, like puzzles and playing outside, without gadgets.

2. You waste hours pouring over useless internet content.

You have a long to-do list. You promised yourself that your Facebook break would only be 20 minutes. That was three hours ago.

It's like potato chips. You start, then you can't stop. Some websites just suck you in. Catchy headlines and promises to see pictures of celebrities without makeup. How can you resist clicking?

You find yourself knee deep in addicting online content, then you look at that neglected to-do list and realize you've fallen behind. Next time you feel the urge to click, ask yourself: Will this website/picture/quiz help me get things done? If the answer's no, move along and don't look back.

3. You're missing out on human connections.

A PBS study on connection and happiness found that people are much happier when they're with other people rather than when they're alone. This goes for introverts and extroverts.

Technology seems to have replaced how much time we spend actually interacting with our family members and friends. This causes people to feel more lonely and disconnected from one another than ever before, even if they have thousands of Facebook friends, according to an excerpt of the book Alone Together, published June 2011 by the American Psychological Association.

A March 2014 study published in Pediatrics found that parents at restaurants were more absorbed in their phones than in their children. Many were buried in their phones and didn't pay attention to their kids, except to scold them for misbehavior.

Ironically, the misbehavior often stemmed from the child trying to get their parents' attention.

The lack of attention and eye contact can slow a child's cognitive, language and emotional development. Plus, you're missing out real life and real connections.

One tip for keeping your connections strong:

Put the gadget down. Seriously. Finish reading this blog post series. Then, set aside time to log off, shut down and sign out.