(lunes 20 de enero de 2020)
Technology has evolved through the years, and almost all of us are dependent on it. From lap tops to tablets, and from smartphones to television, technology comes in many different forms. How does technology, such as smartphones or computers, affect our bodies, and how dangerous is really technology? Although technology is here to help us in everyday life, there are a lot of reasons to why technology can be a negative, and even put us in danger or make us sick, both mentally and physically.
Our mental health affects how we think, feel and act, and use of technology can have an impact on our mental health. But first; why is our mental health so important? According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and Is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Mental health includes our emotional and social well-being. The Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission states: “Keeping our mind healthy is something we should do on a daily basis. It is an important part of you overall health to be able to function well, have meaningful social connections, positive self-esteem and the ability to cope with change.”
So, what does mental health have to do with technology? Wall Street Journal articles show the psychological impact that smartphones have on people. One of them show the unnatural angst caused by not having your smartphone with you or near you. This is called Nomophobia, and is a mental illness caused by technology. It is a growing illness in today’s world, especially amongst young people. YouGov, a research organization, looked at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. The study found that about 58% of men and 47% of women suffer from Nomophobia. The study even found that about two in three people sleep with or next to their smartphones, and that among college students, it is even higher.
Image 1: James Bareham/The Verge
Technology doesn’t just cause problems with our mental health; our physical health is at risk too. Obesity is one of the most dangerous effects of today’s use of technology. For example, watching too much TV contributes to a higher risk of developing obesity among kids. The reason for this is mostly because it can lead to an unhealthy diet. Lisa Rapaport from reuters.com writes that a US study shows that smaller screens also contributes to obesity. A heavy use of screens and other types of technology connect with a person’s diet, physical activity, and can therefore lead to obesity.
It is consuming sugary drinks and unhealthy foods while using sitting down and using technology that is the problem here. Another factor that can contribute to the problem is the ads that come up before watching videos on the internet or commercials before TV shows. This can tempt people watching to buy the food. The last reason to why technology can cause obesity we are going to look at is sleep. In the lead study author Dr. Erica Kenney, a public health researcher at Harvard University in Boston states that there is a connection between decreased sleep and obesity, and too much screen time can interfere with the amount and quality people get, especially teens.
Image 2: shutterstock
Digital eye strain
Blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, all of these are symptoms of digital eye strain. Ann Pietrangelo from the website healthline.com writes: “According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), prolonged use of computers, tablets, and cellphones can lead to digital eye strain.” and that screen glare, bad lighting, and improper viewing distance all are contributing factors to digital eye strain. But what is digital eye strain? American Optometric Association states that digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from computer, tablet and cell phone use. The vision council says: “About 80 percent of American adults report using digital devices for more than two hours per day with nearly 67 percent using two or more devices simultaneously, and 59 percent report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.”
Ann Pietrangelo from Healthline also mentions musculoskeletal problems in her text about technology and our health. “Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs are injuries and disorders that affect the human’s body´s movement or musculoskeletal system” writes erguplus.com. ErgoPlus also writes that MSDs are a common and costly problem for people and companies across the United States. Addiction to smartphone can in fact cause neck problems and other injuries in muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc. ErgoPlus writes further: “When a worker is asked to do work that is outside his body´s capabilities and limitations, he is being asked to put his musculoskeletal system at risk.” Using the computer, the whole day, sitting in unnatural and bad way and using it for too long s is putting your body at risk.
Technology doesn’t just affect our bodies and our mental health, also the way we think. Although technology is here to help us with things we need, technology doesn’t always guarantee good quality education. As technology grows bigger and better, we use it more and more, including in schools. Kidslox.com means that overuse of technology in the classroom will affect the learning process in a negative way. They write: “Plagiarism and cheating have increased while analysis and critical thinking have declined. This puts young generation thinking abilities in jeopardy.”
Image 3: MIT stock
It is clear to us now that technology has become a big part of our lives and we use it every single day. At our jobs, at school, at home, it is everywhere. It is a growing phenomenon, especially amongst teenagers and kids. To summarize, technology such as computers, mobile smart phones and television can affect us in every way, through our mentality, education and our body health, just to name a few. With illnesses like musculoskeletal disorders, digital eye strain, nomophobia and obesity. With all these points in mind, there is no doubt that technology can have an impact on your life.
Author: Oda Austvik. Student of Bachillerato 1º A, IES Jorge Manrique.
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