Is technology bad for our mental and physical health?

 It is very difficult to imagine living in today’s world without relying heavily on technology. How people managed to do anything before smartphones and wi-fi is seriously mind boggling. Technology has certainly made our lives easier and more comfortable, but are we actually happier and healthier with it? Sadly, it seems that our technology-fueled lifestyles are often bad for our mental and physical wellbeing, but luckily, there are some steps we can take to avoid this.

Physical problems

vision problems – looking at a screen for hours a day is normal for many people, but it certainly isn’t healthy. ‘Computer Vision Syndrome’ is a name for a common problem of dry eyes, blurred vision and eyestrain that happens due to over-exposure to computer screens.

hearing problems – earbuds allow you to feel like you are at a live concert somewhere even if you are just going to school or work, but that can also be hard on our ears, causing occasional ringing or even hearing loss.

neck pain – using a laptop, holding a phone between your head and your shoulder, or even simple texting create unnatural positions for our necks, which then result in neck pain and tension headaches.

too much sitting – this alone can create an array of diseases and health problems for people including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack and many more. Even people who work out are not exempt from this if they are in a seated position for the majority of the day.

Mental problems

isolation – since technology creates such a convenient way of communicating with others without actually leaving the house, many people opt to stay in instead of meeting people in real life. Over a period of time, this creates a sense of isolation, loneliness, and a deficit of social skills.

depression – blue lights that are emitted from our phones or laptop screens throw off our circadian rhythms, which can disturb our natural hormone levels. This, plus many other aspects, like isolation, can add to the development of depression over time.

distraction – as the Internet connection becomes faster, our patience and focus become shorter. A recent study has shown that students are now able to focus on something for only three minutes before losing focus and turning to their phones.

narcissism – even though the initial goal was to connect people and make friendships tighter, technology and social media are good at making people self-centered. These are the people who post status updates about themselves a couple of times a day and get upset when they don’t receive instant gratification from it.

How to avoid it

take small breaks – if you need, set alarms to remind you that is time to get up from your laptop or leave down your phone and rest your eyes for 10 minutes. It is important to have several small breaks if you need to sit for many hours.

take a day off – if you can, chose one day a week that you are going to spend without social media, your phone or even technology in general. Get out of your house and spend that day in the real world having real conversations.

turn off the screens at night – one or two hours before bed turn off all the blue lights in your room (for example, your phone and your laptop) in order to give your eyes a rest and to avoid disrupting your sleep rhythms.