Technology surrounds us like never before, with tens of billions of internet-connected devices around the world. There are many positive aspects to technology, not the least of which is that it allows us to stay connected to others, which has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic, but there are also potential health consequences that should be considered.
While some forms of technology may have had a positive impact on the world, there is also evidence of technology’s negative effects on overuse. Social media and mobile devices can cause psychological and physical problems, such as eyestrain and difficulty concentrating on important tasks. They may also contribute to more serious health issues like depression. Overuse of technology may have a greater impact on growing children and teenagers.
Technology surrounds us like never before, with tens of billions of internet-connected devices around the world. There are many positive aspects to technology, not the least of which is that it allows us to stay connected to others, which has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic, but there are also potential health consequences that should be considered. In this article, we go over some of the negative effects of technology on our health.
Negative Impact Of Technology On Health
• Psychological Effects
Overuse or relying on technology can have negative psychological consequences, including:
i) Depression & Anxiety
The authors of a systematic review published in 2016 discussed the relationship between social networks and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Their research yielded some conflicting results. People on these platforms who had more positive interactions and social support appeared to have lower levels of depression and anxiety.
But the opposite is equally true. People who thought they had more negative social interactions online and were more prone to social comparison had higher levels of depression and anxiety. So, while there appears to be a link between social media and mental health, the types of interactions people believe they are having on these platforms are a significant determining factor of its impact.
Social media, for example, are intended to bring people together, but in some cases, it may have an opposite effect. A 2017 study of young adults aged 19 to 32 found that those who used social media more frequently were more than three times more likely to feel socially isolated than those who did not use social media as frequently. Finding ways to reduce social media use, such as setting time limits for social apps, may help some people feel less isolated.
• Physical Effects
Technology use may also increase the risk of physical issues such as:
i) Eye strain
Handheld tablets, smartphones, and computers can hold a person’s attention for an extended period of time and may cause eye strain. Blurred vision and dry eyes are two symptoms of digital eye strain. Eye strain can also cause pain in other parts of the body, including the head, neck, and shoulders. Eye strain can be caused by a variety of technological factors, including:
a) Screen time, screen glare, screen brightness, viewing from too close or too far away, poor sitting posture, and underlying vision issues are all factors to consider.
b) Taking frequent breaks from the screen may help to reduce the likelihood of eyestrain. Anyone who has these symptoms on a regular basis should see an optometrist for a checkup.
ii) Poor Posture
Excessive use of mobile devices and computers may also contribute to poor posture of individuals. This can lead to musculoskeletal problems over time. Many technologies encourage users to adopt a “down and forward” posture, which means they are hunched forward and looking down at the screen. This can cause unnecessary strain on the neck and spine. A 5-year study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics discovered a link between mobile phone texting and neck or upper back pain in young adults.
The findings indicated that the effects were mostly short-term, though some people experienced long-term symptoms. However, some studies turned these findings into question. According to a 2018 study of a reliable source of the European Spine Journal, the posture of the neck while texting has no difference in causing problems like neck pain. This study concluded that texting had no effect on young adults’ neck pain. The study, however, did not include a long-term follow-up of the same.
Other factors, such as age and activity level, may also influence neck pain. Correcting posture issues with use of technology may result in an overall improvement in posture and core, neck, and back strength. For example, if a person finds themselves sitting in the same position for hours at a time, such as while working at a desk, standing or stretching on a regular basis may help reduce strain on the body. Taking short breaks, such as walking around the office every hour, may also help keep muscles loose and prevent tension and incorrect posture.
iii) Sleep Problems
Using technology too close to bedtime may interfere with your sleep. This is due to the fact that blue light, such as that emitted by cell phones, e-readers, and computers, stimulates the brain. According to the authors of a 2014 study, this blue light is enough to disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm. This disturbance may make it difficult to fall asleep or cause a person to feel less alert the next day.
People can avoid the potential effects of blue light on the brain by refraining from using electronic devices that emit blue light an hour or two before bedtime. Gentle activities to wind down with instead include reading a book, doing gentle stretches, or taking a bath.
iv) Reduced Physical Activity
The majority of modern digital technologies are sedentary. More extensive use of these technologies promotes a more sedentary lifestyle, which has been linked to a variety of negative health outcomes, including contributing to:
b) Coronary artery disease
c) Diabetes type 2 causes premature death
There is a need to find some ways to disconnect from technologies that may lead to a more active lifestyle and connect to your surroundings. To do the same, get your checkups and reliable consultations done from renowned doctors of MyHealthCare. Book an appointment now on our website or simply opt for a package for the results and positive response.