New technologies develop on a daily basis and make our lives easier, but the other side of the coin is that they tend to be overused, which can lead to numerous psychological and health-related issues.
Facebook depression, texting thumb syndrome, computer vision syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome are modern maladies that have been plaguing people of the digital era for over a decade. Has technology turned on us, and if so, is it too late to turn the tide around?
Married to the Mobile
According to a recent survey, nomophobia – a growing fear of being without access to a working mobile (no-mobile-phobia) – affects 66% of adults in the U.S. What’s even more alarming is that an increasing number of people use their phones 24/7. Yes, this means that they even share a pillow with their mobile. Even though U.S Food & Drug Administration research studies have cleared mobile phones of charges of increasing cancer risk, they can still affect our health by causing sleeping disorders, anxiety and fatigue.
Social Network Blues
The primary role of social networks is to connect people and help them stay in touch. Paradoxically, many Internet users have never felt lonelier despite an army of online friends and acquaintances. A craving for likes and attention can make even the toughest cookie insecure and vulnerable. Disappointment, sadness and even depression are common in situations when posts or photos fail to collect likes. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that everyone needs validation and an ego-boost, but social networks can put a lot of pressure, especially on the young, as new generations practically live online. The catchphrase “Pisc or it didn’t happen” sums it all up. The University of Houston has conducted a study on the use of Facebook, and the results have shown that those who spent more time on this popular social media website were more depressed. The culprit behind this is “social comparison” or the grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence effect that many people are susceptible to.
The Weight of the Internet
Sugar has been accused of causing the obesity epidemic in the U.S. but it wouldn’t be fair to overlook a sedentary lifestyle, Internet addiction and physical inactivity as factors closely intertwined. Statistics say that about one-third of children in the U.S. are obese or overweight. Recent studies show that kids spend between 5-7 hours a day watching television and using their computers. When combined, these two disturbing facts show the dark side of technology. Byte by byte, pounds are piling on and it’s hard to break the cycle of binge surfing.
Have Your Cake and Eat It
On the other hand, it’s important to stress that the constant development of technology has brought about numerous benefits for mankind. It has enabled people to live healthier, more comfortable and fulfilled lives, and the only trick is to put technology to good use and make it work for us. Modern gadgets can even help when it comes to getting in shape, and a body tracker app is an excellent solution for those who are glued to their cell phones or tablets. That way they will get to keep their favorite toy, at the same time using it for something that will improve their health. No doubt this can motivate people to exercise, since keeping track of progress is psychologically stimulating and once the first results are visible, optimism and zest will kick in.
In a Nutshell
Since the jury is still out on whether modern technology is bad for our health or not, and there are tons of pros and cons for both sides of the story, limiting your screen time and upping your regular physical activities will definitely reduce the potential negative effects caused by a high-tech lifestyle.