We live for technology! But how technology impacts your health may consider you to spend less time staring at your phone.
Technology is everywhere! And in the digital age we live in, it is hard to escape the vast reach of the growing number of tech gadgets people have access to. Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, smart home devices, and computers keep us connected with people around the globe. And they provide a level of convenience that we had not experienced in past generations.
There is a lot of amazing technology that is available in the world. But with that, there is growing concern over the health implications of being connected to the world 24/7. Chronic overuse of smartphones and other gadgets is contributing to a growing list of both physical and mental health concerns.
How technology impacts the body
Do you spend a good deal of time sitting, working on a computer, or staring down at a smartphone or tablet? Chances are you may be causing damage to your spine because of long-term, improper posture. The human head typically weighs between 10-12 pounds. But as you look down at your phone or tablet, the gravitational pull increases that weight to between 24-30 pounds. This places undue stress on the spine. Since it is not uncommon for someone to spend several hours a day looking down at their phone, this can lead to early spinal degeneration and chronic pain.
Looking down for extended periods stresses the muscles in your neck because of the extra weight of your head. This can lead not only to neck pain but to chronic headaches as well. Eye strain causes headaches, a common problem when staring at a phone, tablet, or computer for extended periods.
Looking at a screen for long periods is exhausting to the eyes. The result of eye strain is blurry vision, and eye dryness, and redness. It can also contribute to headaches, as mentioned above.
Sitting too much
A sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to your overall health. Spending hours of your day working on a computer or glued to a smartphone keeps you from being active. This trend is also filtering down to children and teenagers who spend far more time consumed by technology than previous generations. Sitting too much has been connected with heart disease, muscle degeneration, and poor circulation. It also contributes to obesity.
Finger, wrist, and arm pain
Any repetitive motor activity can contribute to issues such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and tendonitis. Prolonged tension from texting can lead to chronic pain, and even potentially the need for surgery.
The light from your smartphone or other gadgets exposes you to blue light. Staring at screens prevents the release of melatonin which throws off your circadian rhythm, causing sleep cycle issues. This is particularly a problem if you use any of these devices directly before bed.
There is a tendency with many people to listen to music that is too loud for the ear. Others like to have the volume up high while playing video games or watching movies. If you do this, prolonged high volumes could damage your hearing and cause hearing loss.
The radiation from cell phones and Wi-Fi has been linked with a decrease in sperm production and motility. This can lead to infertility issues. This problem is increased when men carry their phones in the pocket of their pants.
The impact of technology on mental health
Stress and Anxiety
Do you find yourself scrolling through social media frequently throughout the day? A study conducted in 2012 has shown that regular time spent on social media can increase stress and anxiety levels.
Constant exposure to low-level light, such as that found in tech gadgets such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets can throw off circadian rhythms. If sleep deprivation occurs, this can lead to mood disturbances, such as depression.
Loneliness and isolation
Studies have shown that time spent on popular social networking sites is linked to loneliness and isolation. Earlier research showed a strong connection specifically between loneliness and browsing Facebook. Spending long periods of time on social media is linked to less happiness and less satisfaction with life. As human beings, we are wired to connect with other human beings. The need for community and personal interaction is not met through technology. We do not get the same level of connection when we engage others online as we do in person. The result is loneliness and social isolation.
In the digital age, multitasking has become common. And though many feel like they are being more productive while multitasking, this simply is not true. In fact, studies have shown that productivity is lower when multitasking. This stream of constant information overloads your brain and causes memory loss. This is because there is simply more information than the brain can process and handle. As multitasking creates more overload in the brain, you will experience increasing problems with cognitive function and memory loss.
Most people know at least one person who is attached to their cell phones. Some are so attached that they become anxious if they lose or misplace it. The emotional attachment becomes so great for some that it causes problems for them at work or in their relationships. Technology addiction is real for many and is affecting their quality of life. It can become so bad that many even experience withdrawal symptoms when removing a device from their life.
With all of the ways that technology impacts your health, it is important to be honest with yourself. Take a look at how the technology you use daily may be impacting your health. And then decide if you need to change your usage habits in order to protect your health. Find time regularly to unplug and allow yourself time away from your phone, tablet, computer, television, or Mp3 player. Even a few hours can make a huge difference in helping you to stay healthier!