7 Ways High-tech Gadgets Could Be Hurting You
Computer revolution has created new ways to work, share information, and have fun. High-tech gadgets can be a boon to our brains but can also be a burden on our bodies. Being “always connected” can be a drain on your health.
Here are seven ways that technology and high-tech lifestyles could be causing you harm.
- Computer Vision Syndrome
The human eye is not designed to stare at one point in space for long periods of time. Computer vision syndrome is a condition that occurs when you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen. It can cause eyestrain, fatigue, irritation, redness and blurred vision. This isn’t an irreversible condition.
These steps will help you protect your eyesight.
Check that your prescription for glasses and contact lenses is current and appropriate for computer use. Some people may need occupational glasses. One or more lenses, such as bifocal or tinted, can be used to increase contrast and reduce the effects of glare and reflective lighting.
Your internal clock can be disrupted if you work late at night face-to-face while looking at an illuminated screen. You can make your night even worse by replacing work with fun activities like playing video games after dark. A study found that shooting games reduced levels of melatonin in the brain, which is responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles. It is not better to spend your time in front of the television. A study found that teens who watched more than three hours per day of television were significantly more likely to have sleep problems in their early adult years.
- Repetitive Stress Injuries
It can cause tendons to become irritated by the constant movements required to use a mouse or type on a keyboard. Nerves can be pressed on by swelling. You could experience pain in your forearm, shoulder, or hand if you use a computer mouse for just half an hour per day. However, repetitive stress injury (RSI) can affect your entire body and not just the area you have overused. Mary Barbe, PhD is a Temple University professor in the department anatomy and cell biology. Cytokines, substances that travel through bloodstreams from injured cells, are released by infected cells.
A digital lifestyle has a more direct link to obesity than a digital lifestyle. This is due to spending too much time on your back. It is not surprising that Americans are becoming fatter, and that children are gaining weight at an earlier age. According to Nielsen Co., Americans are spending more time on the tube than ever before. In , households used the tube for an average of 8 hours and 14 minutes each day. Jason Mendoza MD, MPH tells WebMD that the more television you watch, the more overweight you become. He says that in addition to the increased sedentary activities, the ads for pizza can actually make you eat more. Screen time doesn’t have to be limited to TV. We can spend as much time on a computer at work or school. For recreation, we now play video games instead of shooting hoops outside. Baylor College of Medicine assistant professor of pediatrics Mendoza found that computer-using preschoolers were heavier than those who did not. He says that more than two hours per day spent in front of any type of screen is the tipping point.
- Hearing damage
Our electronics are always with us when we go out, whether it’s in the form iPods or other digital music devices. While it’s great to be protected from modern life’s hurly-burly, listening to music via headphones can increase your risk of hearing loss. Robert E. Novak PhD, CCC–A has been testing the hearing abilities of students at Purdue University. He is the head of the department speech, language and hearing sciences. Too many people are seeing him with older ears and younger bodies, which is a sign of loss of hearing high frequencies. This was not something that happened in the late middle ages. Novak claims that people listen to music at 85 to 110 decibels. OSHA has warned employers about the dangers of workers being exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 decibels. He points out that it is not about the volume of the noise but also the duration. Although our ears can recover from sirens screeching, prolonged exposure to loud noises for hours a day can permanently damage inner ear cells.
- Risque of Limb and Life
David Strayer, a University of Utah professor of psychology and expert on driver distraction, said that talking on your phone can make you drive like you are drunk. He used a driving simulator to put people with blood alcohol levels of.08 behind his wheel. Then he tested them sobriety using a cell phone just a few days later. Strayer told WebMD that the person using the cell phone was just as impaired. With the phone in your ear, you are four times more likely than to get into an accident. Voice dialing and hands-free phones don’t seem like a solution. Not fiddling with buttons is what puts you at risk but the fact that the conversation engages parts your brain that are better suited to the road. Strayer says. Strayer says, “It’s more impairment because the mind’s not on the road than it is because the hands aren’t on a steering wheel.” You are able to have a deeper conversation with the person on the other end of your phone because they don’t know about driving conditions. Strayer states that texting increases your chances of having an accident by fourfolds if you are talking on the phone. He says that “taking your mind off of the road even for a second can prove very dangerous.” However, reading and responding to messages only takes a few seconds. It’s no surprise that texting is eight times more likely than driving while you’re texting.
- Asthma in the Office
Indoor air pollution can be caused by your high-tech office. Laser printers can emit invisible particles into the atmosphere as they move. These fine particles can get deep into your lungs. Some printers are not a danger to your health. A study of 62 printers found that 40% emit particles. Only 17 printers were high particle emitters.