Effects of Technology on Health

In today’s society you can’t go anywhere without being influenced by technology. We have become obsessed with checking our emails and texting everyone to let them know where we are and what we are doing.

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According to researchers at the University of California people today take in 3 times more information each day than they did 50 years ago. We spend an average 12 hours in front of our computers and TVs just at home.

So is all this technology bad for us? Medical experts say that depending on what device you are using, it can be. Constant use can affect several parts of your body, including your brain, eyes and back. These changes are not all for the better.

If you have spent a fair amount of time in front of a screen you are aware of the strain that viewing a screen can cause your eyes. Many times when people use their computer or iPad or other device, they assume unusual positions to see well.

Optometrists state that approximately 40% of their patients experience eye strain due to computer vision syndrome. This is a condition caused by working too near to the screen.

Other problems associated with being too close to the computer screen include blurred vision, dry eye, double vision, headache and fatigue. According to the American Optometry Association, 45% of those using some type of computer or hand held device complained of neck and back pain.

Today the norm is multitasking. We talk on the phone while we are driving, we surf the web while watching TV and text while listening in on a conference call.  Although you may think that multitasking is more efficient, it actually has the opposite effect. The research reports that when we drop one activity to do another our performance drops.

Those who multitask have a harder time filtering out information that isn’t relevant compared to those who are concentrating on a single task.

In addition to having a harder time weeding out what is irrelevant, people who multi-task take longer to switch tasks, spend more time searching for irrelevant information and have a harder time juggling problems.

In a study published in “Science” magazine (2011) students from Harvard and Columbia were more capable of retaining information if they knew they could not get it from a computer later on.

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A recent study showed that Facebook diminishes teens’ self-esteem, and contrary to what you may think, the more friends you have the worse this is. Facebook becomes a place for self-destructive behavior which occurs by kids getting involved in negative comparisons.

When teens especially, go on to Facebook and look at the new posts it is difficult for them to understand that most of the things people post are about their good days.

They assume that everyone has it better off than they and do not realize many of the posts represent only a minute part of the poster’s life, and sometimes are outright lies.

Because teens either text or play video games late into the night they are not getting enough sleep, resulting in a lack of focus in school and an inability to deal with the social pressures.

If you look around at our world today you will see that our teens are failing to separate from their parents. Because of cell phones, kids text or call their mothers more than ten times a day. Doing this prevents them from becoming independent thinkers.

Kids’ constant use of their phones and social media sites results in them never experiencing solitude. This results in them being lonely when they can’t access these sites. As a result kids are often afraid of missing out on something.

According to a survey done by Nielson (2010) people on average send and receive text messages 3,339 times a month. In another study done in Britain 3.8 million thumb-typers complained of pain from similar activities.

Nearly 38% said they suffered from sore wrists and thumbs, the result of repetitive movements. Working at a computer four to six hours a day can even be worse because the motions are not as intermittent as they are when you text. Thus the strain on your muscles is even worse because there is a cumulative effect.

The longer you sit in front of a computer or TV, the greater likelihood you’ll die earlier than those who don’t sit for so long.  People who sit for more than six hours a day are 37% more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than three hours per day, according to an American Cancer Society study that followed 123,000 adults for 14 years.

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