Life seems to come to a halt without using technological devices such as mobile or laptops. In the age of interconnectivity, it becomes mandatory to have these devices to process information and share it with the world.
The pros and cons of these devices evenly match each other, but it’s very recently that researchers are intently looking into the side effects of overusing these technological advancements.
Though the debate has been around for a long time, it became more relevant during the COVID pandemic.
The imposition of lockdowns to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus resulted in online classes for children and increased work-from-home jobs for the working population. In addition, due to the lack of outdoor activities, entertainment was expanded to online platforms extending screen time across age groups.
The change in the dynamics of being dependent on technology to stay connected with the world resulted in reporting higher health issues like back pain, neck pain, ocular problems, and obesity, among other issues.
The COVID relaxations did nothing to ease the dependency since the commoners were accustomed to consuming everything readily available at their fingertips.
The blog hopes to shed light on how technological devices like mobile or laptops have impacted people’s health and to suggest simple ways to rectify health issues by offering insights into how to correct the lifestyle to adapt to these inevitable technological advancements.
Positive effects of technology on health
Advancements and innovative ideas have given rise to a plethora of electronic devices. Technology can enrich life in many ways.
- One of the best examples is the all-inclusive hand bands which monitor heart rate, oxygen levels, sleep, and activity rates.
- Advanced technology helps us connect with long-distance friends and family.
- Adapting and using technology wisely helps us learn innovations and advancements to enhance our careers and knowledge.
- Technology played a vital role in keeping many healthy during the pandemic. Health monitoring devices and video consultations helped people get better health advice from doctors.
- Technology also helps us increase productivity, boost our self-esteem and confidence by providing access to necessary help in time, and access relevant exercise and health tips from the comfort of our homes.
- Technology also allows you to multitask, making your brain more active and cognitive, thus enhancing brain activities.
The above-stated points are advantages only if technology is used optimally. As per the adage, too much is too bad – overuse of technology is harmful to human health.
Harmful effects of electronic gadgets on human health
One of the common side effects of problem use of these electronic gadgets is headaches which is just the starting point. From here on, the negative effects of overuse of electronic devices progress and shows them impacting daily lives.
Looking down on electronic gadgets for long periods can lead to neck and back problems like Tech or Text neck. The tech neck changes the spine’s structure leading to painful shoulders, neck, headaches, and wear and tear of the Musculoskeletal tissue.
Over typing in the laptop and smartphones can lead to pain and the fingers and wrists, giving rise to “selfie elbow” and “texting thumb” issues.
Digital eye strain caused due to constant exposure to digital devices is harmful to the eyes. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is one of the most commonly reported eye issues caused due to over-screen time.
Excessive use of electronic gadgets either positively or negatively leads to a sedentary lifestyle. The lack of physical activity is one of the primary causes of obesity. Inactivity also gives rise to heart disease, cancer, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and arthritis.
The harmful effects of technology are not limited to just physical health. It extends to mental health as well.
Constantly checking social feeds looking for a reply or to see how many likes a social media post has received can trigger anxiety.
Hate speech, self-comparisons, and negative comments can affect your mental health. People, including celebrities, have reported suffering from mental health issues like depression due to constant exposure to social media.
One cannot run from the fact that the internet is also home to disastrous news like terrorist activities, political divisions, genocides, natural calamities, high-profile crimes, etc. Reading these can also affect the state of one’s mental health.
Reversing the Harmful effects to make the best use of technology
The harmful effects listed in the above section are readily reversible with necessary lifestyle modifications.
- Adjust your posture when using electronic devices to resolve the tech neck or text neck problem. Further, ensure that your eyesight and sitting arrangements are aligned. In case you feel the pain has progressed, consult your doctor to get the right treatment to rectify the text neck problem.
- Use a stylus or voice commands if your thumbs or fingers are in pain due to typing or texting.
- Take regular screen breaks for a minimum of 20 minutes and stretch the body muscles to avoid stiff muscles and cramps. Thanks to technology, there are devices or apps that can remind you to do so.
- To avoid ocular problems, follow the rule of 20. Every 20 minutes, look up at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will relax your eye muscles, and you can use this break to stretch your back and neck muscles.
- The blue light emitted from the computer, laptop, or mobile screens keeps you awake for long hours. Hence, avoid using digital gadgets at least one hour before you sleep. Sleeping well helps reverse the damage done to your body throughout the day.
- Set aside a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes for physical activity. Take a walk or jog outside daily. It ensures you receive the optimal amount of sunlight and physical activity.
- Limit using headphones and earphones to avoid ear problems in the long run.
- Limit the amount of time spent browsing social media. It is not the true reflection of how society works. Despite what people comment, know your true worth and stay true to yourself.
The good effects of technology on a health of an individual are often underestimated. When there are positive things that technology can do for us, we should also be aware that it has equally harmful effects on human health. Correcting the usage of digital devices at the root and using technology wisely can help us in more ways than one.
If you feel you or one of your loved ones is addicted to technology, then know it’s time to take help. The excellent medical practitioners at VIMS are always ready to help you with your health concerns.
Disclaimer: The information included here is only for knowledge-sharing purposes, and the blog is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis, medical advice, or treatment by a healthcare professional. Every individual needs advice based on diagnosis and evidence, hence the reader should consult their doctor to determine the disease and any treatment must be taken under appropriate medical guidance.