Technology is undoubtedly helping us in our daily lives, but, we have reached a point where we tend to use gadgets extensively, and in ways, that may be detrimental to our health. Lets take a look at how excessive usage of technology and gadgets can actually harm us:
Radiation from gadgets: Almost all gadgets – cell phones, iPods and iPads, laptops, microwave ovens, etc, emit radiation. While studies have not proven any direct link between cancer and radiation from gadgets, some research has shown that constant exposure to radiation, over a period of time, may affect human cells, that might possibly help tumours grow. While there are alternating theories to this, some studies have also shown that cell phones could possibly reduce sperm count, particularly for those who keep their phones in their pockets for a long time.
Insomnia: The constant exposure to the light emitted from gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops, iPads, and others, can interfere with our body’s natural ability to process daylight, and understand when it is time to sleep. The light suppresses the release of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for sleep, hence affecting our circadian rhythm. This is the same with playing video games, or even watching TV before going to sleep.
Increases risk of infections: We constantly keep touching our mobile phones, and, as we go about our daily business, end up transferring disease-prone germs like E-Coli on to it. When cell phones change hands, so do the bacteria. A study conducted by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, found that out of 390 cell phones and hands that were sampled to measure levels of bacteria, 92 percent of the cell phones, and 82 percent of the hands had bacteria on them.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: The repetitive motion which is involved while typing or texting on a cell phone, or laptop, can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Also known as video thumb or swipers thumb, this is characterised by soreness or cramping in the fingers, wrist and forearm, which is often caused by the overuse while typing. This happens when a specific nerve that is located in a tunnel in the wrist gets squeezed by tunnels around it, which get inflamed. This results in pain in the hand and wrist, which can progress to the arm and neck, if not treated. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is common in people who constantly use their fine motor skills.
Obesity: More and more children, right from a very young age, are getting addicted to gadgets, and often, prefer playing video games or browsing the internet, to going out and playing. The same is happening to adults as well. This sedentary lifestyle, coupled with unhealthy eating, can lead to obesity in the long run, which in turns causes a range of illnesses - from diabetes and high blood pressure, to cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.
Stress: Its not just physical strain that can result from too much time spent with technology - a Swedish research team from the University of Gothenburg has found that people using Facebook constantly, and for long hours daily, are at a higher risk of developing stress, depression and mental illnesses. Social comparison, where the kind of photographs and posts of vacations, children or professional and personal achievements that friends put up, cause jealousy, the constant need to compare one’s social life with others, the need for likes and comments on posts and photos, cause stress and, sometimes, may lead to depression. Too much time spent online also leads to neglecting other duties, which again, can cause stress.
Hearing damage: We tend to take our music with us wherever we go, and this constant exposure to loud noise using headphones, can raise the risk of ear damage and subsequent hearing loss. While our ears can take high decibles for a short period, prolonged exposure to loud noise, is harmful. And earphones take the noise directly into the ear, hence causing damage to the ear drums.