People use technology more now than ever before. Most of us are on our devices 18 hours a day, reading emails, scrolling through the news, playing video games, and working.
And while it is making us more productive, it’s also harming our well-being in multiple ways. Smartphones, computers, and other gadgets are leading to a rise in both psychological and physical issues, many of which their inventors never predicted.
In this post, we take a look at some of the more concerning aspects of technology and its effects on our collective health. Here’s what you need to know.
It May Increase Isolation
Social media and other tools were supposed to bring people closer together and make it easier for them to communicate with each other. However, while connectedness online is higher than ever, social isolation is on the rise. Studies have shown that people who use social media more tend to be the most isolated compared to those who didn’t use it as much. Using social apps appears to displace real-life relationships, so many people spend their entire time alone.
It Increases The Risk For Depression And Anxiety
While social media shoulders most of the media blame for the effects of technology on our consciousness, it actually goes significantly deeper than that. Technology is fundamentally chipping away at our human need for wonder. When you can find out everything with the click of a button, the world ceases to be such a majestic and mysterious place. You suddenly feel as though you know everything, and there is nothing left to learn.
Of course, this is an illusion of the mind. There is always more to learn. But many tech users believe it fully. And that’s putting them at a higher risk of mental health issues.
Negative online social interactions are much more likely to increase the risk of depression and anxiety. People who get into fights or bullying situations with other online actors are highly likely to experience mental health issues as a consequence, particularly if they are younger individuals.
Gamers who spend all day clicking buttons and mashing keypads can develop thumb stains, something that was once only associated with new mothers who had to constantly pick up their babies. A small strip of tissue becomes inflamed with repeated use, leading to pain and discomfort.
One solution is KT Tape thumb taping. This helps to support the thumb during regular movement. However, many gamers find that they have to stop playing because continuing is just too painful. Thumb strain can take weeks to subside.
Related to this is the problem of eyestrain. Computer screens can hold a person’s attention for much longer than most objects in nature. Over time, vision can become blurred and eyes can dry out. Muscles around the eyes may also become fatigued by looking at images all day. Pain may refer to other areas of the body, including the neck and shoulders.
To reduce the impact of eye strain, public health bodies recommend that people follow the 20-20-20 rule. This states that you should look away from the screen for 20 seconds every twenty minutes and look at something twenty feet away. This discipline rests and resets the eyes, reducing discomfort considerably.
The evidence that technology is damaging posture is overwhelming. Devices are contributing to a variety of musculoskeletal issues.
Most smartphone users, for instance, adopt a “down and forward” position when interacting with their devices. Their head is hunched over their smartphone, and their head and neck are rounded, putting pressure on the spine. Eventually, this can lead a person to begin stooping unnaturally. Studies, for instance, have found an association between texting and upper back pain in young adults.
Interacting with technology may also make us more sedentary. Where there is more to do in front of a screen instead of in the real world, it naturally starts to dominate, and physically mastering our environments becomes less important. As a consequence, we walk and cycle less, and we spend less time standing up.
Problems With Sleep
Then there are the sleep problems that technology creates. Constantly being connected to bosses and work colleagues increases stress in the evenings and at weekends, making it harder to drift off. The blue light that devices emit also makes sleep more difficult by stimulating the brain and making it believe that it is morning. People who text on blue-screen devices late into the night feel less alert and well-rested the following day. They also take longer to fall asleep.