We live in a modern-day era, where technology is at the center of our lives. While it makes it easier to get answers, communicate with others and work, what effect does it have on our bodies? Can it lead to disease and affect cognitive function? Together, we’ll explore the harm that can result from using too much technology and how you can better protect your health, while still enjoying its benefits.
Negative Health Effects
- Eye strain. Just as with anything that you focus on, staring at electronic devices and their screens can cause eye strain. Eye strain is when you experience pain and discomfort in your eyes. Side effects of eye strain include neck and shoulder pain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.
- Headaches. As a result of eye strain, headaches and migraines can arise from too much screen time.
- Poor posture. Some may think, how can technology cause poor posture? Any while it’s not the technology itself that causes poor posture, it’s the user and their inattentiveness to their body while they are using electronic devices. Typing on a laptop, tablet or cell phone takes a lot of focus and oftentimes you may find yourself slouching or dropping your neck, causing your back to experience poor posture.
- Sleep disturbances. “Unplugging” can be very difficult, especially when you use your cell phone for everything. By having your cell phone nearby when going to sleep, it makes it very difficult for your body to distinguish when it is time for bed and time to be awake. Sleep is a habitual process and using electronics before bed breaks your good happens along with your circadian rhythm.
Tips for Using Technology Safely
- Exercise. Being glued to a computer or phone screen decreases the likelihood of getting exercise. However, when work requires the use of technology, it can be difficult to create that balance. Invest in an adjustable desk where you can stand, sit on a yoga ball instead of a traditional desk chair, or take a five minute walk every hour or two. These small changes in your daily schedule can have a huge impact on your overall health.
- Reduce screen time. It is recommended that you look away from your screen at something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. You should also try to limit your screen time by engaging in activities that you would do on an electronic device, but could do without. For example, make a phone call instead of texting, research with books instead of the internet, or even hand write letters instead of typing them up.
- Wear blue light glasses. Screens emit blue light that lead to fatigue, eye strain and headaches. Blue light glasses are specifically designed to protect your eyes from these harmful effects.
- Take time to focus on social, emotional and mental health. The most important tip on this list is taking care of yourself. We can oftentimes find ourselves trapped in the world of technology. Take time every day to unplug and focus on your wellbeing.
While technology controls our work life and social life, managing your screen time can significantly reduce your risk of experiencing the negative health effects and even long-term effects.