There is no doubt that technology has been beneficial for us in many ways. It allows us to stay connected to people and perform simple tasks with a single click. However, too much of anything can often be harmful as well. Similarly, digital life can raise various mental and physical health concerns.
Excessive use of social media and mobile devices are some of the activities that can negatively affect your health. More importantly, this impact can be more serious for children and teenagers.
So, let’s take a look at some of the common negative effects that technology can have on our health.
Effects on physical health
Prolonged use of mobile phones, laptops, or tablets can result in bad posture. People use these devices in the “forward and down” position. They hunch their shoulders forward and look down at the machines.
This position can affect your posture, putting extra pressure on your spine, neck, and shoulders. Furthermore, it can result in musculoskeletal issues as well. You can prevent this kind of strain by taking breaks and stretching.
Inactivity and obesity
Regular exercise is essential for everyone, irrespective of their age. It is beneficial for your physical as well as mental health. Hence, you should incorporate at least 30 minutes of regular exercise into your daily routine.
Most activities involving technology are sedentary. However, excessive use of technology has resulted in decreased activity levels. Furthermore, the current pandemic has exacerbated the problem, with many people becoming housebound with remote work and distance learning solutions.
The effects of technology on children and adults are equally alarming. Children often spend considerable time on social media, video games, and more. In addition, remote learning has increased their daily screen time. Preference for screen-based activities has decreased their chances of engaging in other physical activities and reduced the time spent in playgrounds with their friends. Children do not get enough physical exercise daily, and their social skills have not developed either.
Prolonged screen time is unhealthy as it can result in obesity and an overall decline in everyone’s health. In adults, high inactivity levels can lead to various health problems, such as obesity, heart problems, diabetes, and more.
Let’s face it. Technology can be quite addictive. You can easily spend hours on your phone or laptop, including watching your favorite show or scrolling through social media posts.
However, extended use of such devices can result in eyestrain. It can cause poor vision, headaches, dryness, and redness in the eyes.
Doctors and specialists advise taking screen breaks to minimize eyestrain. You can do so by adopting the 20-20-20 rule. This method includes taking a 20-second break after every 20 minutes of looking at a screen and looking at something 20 feet away.
Getting enough sleep every night is crucial for physical and mental well-being. Chronic fatigue, poor memory, lack of focus and concentration are consequences of inadequate sleep. So, it is advisable to get seven or more hours of sleep for adults.
However, using laptops or phones before bedtime can cause problems. The blue lights from mobile phones, iPods, and laptops disrupt the cycle of melatonin production that begins as night approaches. Bright lights and the interactive use of technological devices stimulate the brain and make you more alert. So, you do not feel ready to sleep and continue to use the devices.
Hence, it is preferable to avoid using devices at least one hour before sleeping. Instead, you can read a book or engage in some light stretching to help yourself relax and fall asleep.
Effects on mental health
Social withdrawal and isolation
Although technologies such as social media aim to bring people closer, they can often result in social withdrawal. People may avoid social gatherings or activities altogether because they can get all their information on their phones. On the other hand, they may not make an effort to see their friends or family because they can easily communicate with others through social media. Even though this may seem like a convenience, it is not beneficial in the long term.
Social withdrawal can lead to isolation, which can harm your mental health. For instance, a study on young adults showed a positive relationship between social media use and social isolation.
Hence, limit your time on social media and take time to meet your friends and family. Emotional support from your loved ones is a great way to divert your attention from stressful situations and is good for your mental health.
Depression and anxiety
Digital life gives us access to news from all over the world. According to research, almost 55% of Americans get their news from social media. As soon as anything happens, it is uploaded on the internet. Thus, you have access to all the good and the bad news. However, this can harm mental health. Watching bad things happening around you all the time can lead to feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and more.
Similarly, technology enables people to stay connected but negative experiences over the internet can be just as adverse as real scenarios. Except more and more people have the potential to be harmed by those negative experiences. For instance, people may face cyberbullying or other forms of negative interactions on the internet, which may damage them emotionally.
Hence, online experiences can contribute to a person developing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
However, this mostly depends on the way you choose to use technology. It is important to limit the use of social media and focus on real life. Moreover, it is better to be careful with what you share and with whom you share it.
Inability to focus
You may have found yourself just scrolling through social media when you have an important deadline to meet. On the other hand, you may find it difficult to complete your work because you keep picking up your phone.
Modern technology, such as the internet and social media, has reduced our ability to focus. We are constantly distracted by notifications that prevent us from accomplishing tasks. Furthermore, it leads to procrastination, due to which you are unable to finish work on time which can make you feel stressed or anxious.
Although the incredible amount of information now available at our fingertips has been beneficial for us in many ways, it has diverted our attention from more important matters. These significant issues can include meeting work or academic deadlines, fulfilling your personal or family obligations,
You can improve your ability to focus by eliminating distractions, limiting social media use, or switching off devices such as smartphones while working. Overall, continuous use of such technologies has resulted in a decrease in attention span and the ability to focus. So, it is necessary to make wise choices and prioritize important matters.
We live in a digital age where almost anything is possible with the help of a simple click. It enables us to stay connected and perform several tasks efficiently. However, it comes with certain risks too.
Extended use of technology such as smartphones can lead to various physical and mental health problems. It can cause vision problems, disrupt your sleep pattern and cause mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. Therefore, it is necessary to use these amazing inventions wisely. You can do so by making little changes to your lifestyle, such as:
- Limit screen time, especially for children.
- Avoid looking at screens before bed and engage in relaxing activities.
- Limit the use of social media apps.
- Engage in social activities and spend time with your loved ones.