Digital Aging – why blue light makes old!

Let’s be honest: When do you spend an entire day without a screen or smartphone? According to Statista, the average media usage is 6.5 hours a day. What does that do to us? What is behind the term digital aging?

Blue light is not only harmful to our beauty, but also to our well-being; for example, it has been proven to worsen our ability to fall asleep. Blue light also damages our eyes and causes premature aging of the skin. Oxidative stress develops. The consequences are wrinkles and pigment disorders. Dr. Daniela Otto answers the question of what can be done against digital aging.

Dr. Daniela Otto has worked intensively on the subject and was one of the first in Germany to publish a book on the subject of Digital Detox four years ago. The perfect expert for Podcast Episode 005.

What can you do against digital aging?

Fortunately, as with sun protection products with sun protection factor, there are now also products that protect against Blue Light, i.e. Digital Aging. They act against oxidative stress, partly contain reflective color pigments that reduce blue light or special enzymes that are supposed to repair cell damage.

Brand new and from May 1 on the market is, for example, the “Blue Light Defender” from LR, the Health & Beauty Systems. The serum acts on three levels against the harmful blue rays, against digital aging. It contains an extract of spirulina algae with the color pigment phycocyanin, which refelect blue light. The enzyme photolyase, in turn, is said to repair cell damage already caused by blue light, and blue lotus is an optimal radical scavenger and acts against oxidative stress (“Blue Light Defender”, 30ml about 50 euros).

But not only the beauty industry but also the wellness industry reacts with special offers. Do you know any examples?

Digital Detox indeed not only lets our skin regenerate from stress, but also contributes overall to a significant improvement in well-being. The wellness industry is now using this effect for itself: there are more and more hotels with corresponding Digital Detox offers – with great success. I can only recommend this: An offline vacation is pure deep relaxation. And the most beautiful face is ultimately a happy and relaxed face.

Digital Detox in times of Corona – is that even possible?

Yes, but it is more difficult and at the same time all the more necessary. Currently, nothing works without digital media and we spend almost all our time in front of a screen. Even more than usual. Many realize that this is not good for them.

Of course, the crisis also exacerbates existing tendencies: Those who already had a tendency toward unhealthy smartphone use will feel this even more strongly now.

Second, the problem is that we are becoming addicted to our cell phones far too quickly. And cell phone addiction is quite a serious addiction, with the same mechanisms running in the brain as any other addiction.

Digital Detox Tips by Dr. Daniela OttoMany are talking about the opportunity that lies in this crisis. Where do you see the opportunities with regard to our media use?

I see opportunities and at the same time limits and risks. One opportunity is, quite clearly, that we can be connected. We can be grateful here: It’s great that digitization exists – otherwise we wouldn’t be able to exchange ideas here and now. That’s great, especially for people who feel lonely. With just one click, you feel less alone.

Can a virtual meeting replace personal contact?

But then we also quickly come to the limits of technology: a virtual meeting does not replace a real one. In the end, digital contact may alleviate our longing for community, but it always leaves us unsatisfied.

What’s missing most?

So much is lost through digital communication channels: the human magic, so to speak. We don’t see the other person, we don’t smell him, we don’t feel him. I noticed this at Easter, for example: as a Catholic, I watched the service from the Vatican – but it was only a reflection of a real mass that you attend. But the same is true for the difference between online shopping and boutique experiences, between cybersex and real love, etc. Apart from that, the technology often doesn’t work front and center …

A day without a cell phone? Unthinkable for many. Internet addiction is now a recognized disease. What can be done? An expert gives digital detox tips.So if technology isn’t enough in the end and doesn’t satisfy all our needs – why are we still so crazy about digital media?

Because networking media counteract our primal fear of being alone. This fear is ingrained in us and is currently being massively reinforced by social distancing, of course. We must not forget: We are social beings, herd animals. In the course of modernity, however, we have increasingly dropped out of classic systems of association – family, class, religious community. Of course, this gives us a lot of freedom, but it is not without its consequences. This has led to increasing isolation, which is not good for us.

Do you have a concrete example of this?

A good example is Sex and the City: to the end, the typical modern character is the single person in the big city who longs for love. Because the lost naturally appeals to us, we want the collective back. And social networks naturally revive the lost community.

That doesn’t sound wrong at first. What exactly is the problem then?

On the one hand, this feeling of connection is often an illusion. The 1000 Facebook friends are usually not real ones after all. I doubt that even one follower really comes when you need it in real life.

There is also the phenomenon of online addiction. How do you recognize that you are addicted?

On the other hand, the problem is that we become addicted to our cell phones far too quickly. And cell phone addiction is a very serious addiction, with the same mechanisms running in the brain as with any other addiction.

cell phone radiation makes you sick, marina jagemannWhat exactly happens in our brain then?

Let’s take the example of Instagram. I post something, get likes for it – that makes me feel good, because my reward center is activated. Dopamine, the so-called “happiness hormone,” is released and the brain learns: a post with many likes makes me happy. I want to have this feeling of happiness again and again. This creates an addictive cycle. But that’s not all. Just by reading a lot online, we change our brain: On the Internet, we’re constantly jumping back and forth, we have ten tabs open, and something is constantly popping up that flashes and distracts us.

What are the consequences of these developments?

We unlearn linear, focused thinking. We find it harder to concentrate. This is worrying, especially for pupils and students who have to study a lot. We rely more and more on devices, forgetting to use our own minds. If I want to know what the weather is like, I can just look out the window and don’t need an app.

And what happens to our emotions?

Unfortunately, the studies also show one thing very clearly: excessive cell phone use makes people unhappy, and depression is on the rise, especially among young people. The reason behind this is that young people are constantly comparing themselves on social networks – the supposedly better lives of others make them unhappy.

Our self-perception is strongly influenced by social mediaTypical for Instagram?

Yes, especially so. There, we are presented with an illusory world that has nothing to do with reality. Everyone invents a supposedly “ideal” version of themselves – but I believe and hope that this will not bear in the long run. The pure surface is not fascinating, at least I personally long for depth.

What are your tips for Digital Detox in times of Corona?

  • Develop awareness
  • Schedule offline times
  • Fall back on old forms of communication (landline, writing letters) and analog tools (wristwatch, alarm clock, camera)
  • Starting and ending the day without a cell phone
  • Walk without cell phone
  • Small steps that make a big difference …

Lead photo: Jamie Street, Photos: private