Since the invention of the wheel, technology has always and will always have an effect on humanity’s livelihood. In this day and age, we can’t imagine the world without it. Information from all over the world is ready to download into personal files at the touch of a button, making the world accustomed to moving and living that much faster.
To say that we could somehow live without technology would feel like telling some sort of fairytale. We can hardly go a day without using some type of advanced technological equipment, whether it is the latest iPhone model or a hairdryer. It’s just how our lives are. Our tools affect us in more ways than making human existence easier. Our physical and mental health is affected by the daily uses of technology.
I am sure that many people have been told at some point in their lives that using this or that device will cause you to go deaf, blind, get carpel tunnel or some other horrible injury to your body. Are there any of these rumors really true? Not really, but there are a few. Let’s take a look at some of the possible risks of affecting your body while using technology.
“Turn that down, you’ll hurt your eardrums” is probably the phrase that we hear most often. It might be wise to listen to their advice. Listening to anything higher than 85 decibels with ear buds in could damage the small hair follicles in the inner ear which cannot be replaced. If too much damage is done, permanent hearing loss could occur.
Damaging your eyes from using something like a computer or tablet is a different matter. You really can’t go blind from staring at a screen all day. True, your eyes may become tired or irritated after a full day of work, but that’s not permanent damage. It is called computer vision syndrome and it is usually triggered by not blinking and not taking focusing breaks leading to dry, burning eyes.
Texting or typing is one of those things that ‘everyone’ is doing now. I remember when I bought my first cell phone and started texting, my grandma told me to be careful that I don’t get carpel tunnel. There is no reason to worry about that. It’s just a myth. My fingers could obviously get stiff or sore from over typing or texting, but carpel tunnel is something completely different.
Using devices the wrong way could end up affecting other parts of your body, but these risks are easily avoidable. For example, if you own a tablet and place it frequently on your lap, you could hurt your neck muscles over time by bending your neck down so often. This is easily fixed by propping it somewhere and letting your neck remain in a neutral position. There is also a risk of a lap top being hurtful to the reproductive health in a man. Leaving the device on your lap for extended periods releases excess heat and radio-frequency electromagnetic waves which could compromise sperm quality and mobility. Avoid this by putting a cooling device under it or moving to a different surface.
Using a laptop, cell phone or iPad late at night might cause more problems than not, starting with messed up sleep cycles. Staring at a bright screen before you turn in for the night would throw off your mind’s ability to normalize your sleep patterns, and could eventually cause sleep disorders.
With all of the use of social media on phones and computers now, more social and mental issues have been emerging from the use of the technology. Studies have shown a link between those who constantly use their cell phones and their reports of depression or anxiety. Other studies have shown that those who abuse technology have enough time with their devices to trigger the addiction-oriented parts of the brain.
Obsessively using gadgets possibly leads to other real problems. There is a real fear now in users described as “Fear of Missing Out” or FOMO. People feel the pressure of society to attend every event, share every experience and read every posted update. Isolation, insecurity, and anxiety are all related to the fear of “not being there” while it happens. Sure, having the ability to connect with anyone at all times has its benefits, but we must also remember that there could be very real social and mental side effects.
What about the future?
Technological advances have reached nearly every aspect of living in a big way except for medical advancements. Giant leaps in communication, business, home improvement, and even entertainment have brought about a society that people used to fantasize over in literature. It’s now the medical field’s turn to change the way we look at things like our health and systems of diagnosis.
The digital age has now made it possible for digitizing humans using wireless biosensors. We can now continuously monitor every body function. We can image any part of the body and form a three-dimensional reconstruction to eventually be able to print an organ. Miniature hand held devices can capture critical information anywhere including someone’s genome sequencing. Devices will be able to diagnose and treat patients at an individual level instead of the current method using the whole population. Information can be updated continuously and early indicators can present possible diseases before they even begin. How much better would you feel if you knew a loved one could have an impeding heart attack or stroke and had the time to prevent or treat the problem?
Possibilities of substantial growth in medicine and hospital procedures are endless. Eventually our sci-fi stories could become reality even more dramatically than we already know. Hopefully, it will all be for the better of us all.