Technology has improved our lives in so many ways. Smartphones, computers, and the internet enable us to better our lives in ways that no one could have dreamed of fifty years ago. We can now speak to relatives in Australia at the touch of a button and find out any information we desire just by typing a search query into Google. Our phones allow us to do everything from finding romantic partners to buying cars to navigating in the mountains.
These tiny black devices contain a monumental amount of power, and the possibilities for self-improvement and societal advancement are endless. But, to quote Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. The omnipresence of technology has come with several drawbacks that are having severe consequences for many people.
Tech Addiction is as Harmful as Drugs
Tech addiction is widespread across the Western world, and more than 50% of all people claim to be addicted to their phones. And that’s just the people who admit it. Children are spending excessive amounts of time on their phones, scrolling aimlessly through social media, and playing mind-numbing games. And to make things worse, the big tech companies actually design their apps to be addictive, encouraging their users to spend as much time on them as possible. Here is Netflix’s Documentary called The Social Dilemma that you should watch right now.
You might be thinking that technology is a relatively harmless addiction, certainly not on the same level as alcohol, smoking, or illegal drugs. And while phone users may not be ingesting harmful chemicals, that doesn’t mean they are in the clear. Overuse of technology has so many health risks, both for the body and the mind.
Spending too much time online has been shown to impair cognitive function, memory, and concentration, causing both academic and professional performance to deteriorate. It can lead to low self-esteem and confidence issues, which if unchecked can cause more serious mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Children nowadays are spending less time running around outdoors and more time at home playing video games and using Snapchat. Therefore they are leading more sedentary lifestyles and finding themselves at a higher risk of obesity and other health issues.
Sitting all day on phones and Playstations with poor posture can lead to chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders, and we are already seeing a huge rise in cases of “text neck,” caused by constantly staring down at one’s phone. And that’s not all. Screens are terrible for the eyes, drying them out and irritating them, and eventually causing vision to worsen
Like many things, technology is beneficial in moderation, but if left unchecked it can have extremely negative consequences for anyone who uses it. And as it becomes even more commonplace, this will only worsen. Technology isn’t going to disappear, so it’s more important than ever to find ways to live with it more healthily.
6 Tips for Healthy Technology Usage (1 Bonus Tip)
If you want to have a more balanced relationship with your phone, here are five tips for healthy technology use.
1. Set restrictions
Most smartphones have digital wellness settings that allow you to monitor and limit the amount of time you spend using your device or certain apps on it. If you feel you spend too much time on Instagram, consider setting a timer that blocks the app after a certain period of time each day, say thirty minutes. This way, once you’ve exceeded your limit, you’ll be able to break the cycle of empty scrolling.
2. Turn off notifications
When you’re deep into a good book, an important work project or a conversation with a loved one, the last thing you want is an unscheduled interruption to break your concentration. So then why would you have a smartphone within reach at all times that goes off whenever anyone likes your tweet or a new email lands in your inbox? Nothing will improve your productivity, attention, and quality of life than turning off your notifications.
No one will be offended if you don’t respond to that WhatsApp message right away. This will allow you to focus on the things that matter, and start working towards beating your phone addiction.
3. Use Anti-Glare Spectacles
How much time each day do you spend staring at a screen? You check your phone when you wake up in the morning, spend all day working at a computer, scroll through social media during your lunch break, and then sit in front of the TV all evening before finally giving your eyes a break when you go to sleep. Our eyes weren’t designed to be staring at a screen all day, and it’s no wonder that more and more people are experiencing vision problems.
If you have to use a screen, you can at least take some steps to protect your eyesight. When using devices, we tend not to blink as much, which can dry out and irritate the eyes. Take regular breaks from the screen every 20 minutes, to get up, walk around, blink, and look out the window.
Computers and phones give out blue light, which can interfere with your sleeping patterns and affect stress levels and mental health. To minimize these effects, you can buy blue-light blocking glasses from any good opticians. Visit the website to learn more.
4. Watch Out Body Posture
When working at a computer or using your phone, try to be mindful of your body position. Hunching over a laptop, slouching in your seat, and staring down at a phone for a long time will do severe damage to your body. Try to sit upright and take regular breaks to stand up and walk around if working at a desk, an ergonomic office chair or a standing desk can do wonders for your posture. Check out some of the best Electric desks here.
5. Spend time with Hobby
Make sure you schedule some time every day to switch off your devices and engage in more wholesome, tech-free activities. This will give your mind a rest and greatly improve your mental health. What you do at this time is entirely up to you. It can be anything that doesn’t involve any kind of gadgets.
You can read a book, not on Kindle, go running, walking, join a gym, start swimming, play your favorite song on the keyboard, guitar, drums, paint a picture or just go to the park and see the plants, trees, people there.
6. Don’t use any Screen before Sleeping
There is a hormone in the human body called Melatonin, released by the Pineal Gland in the brain which makes us feel sleepy. Any disturbance in releasing the Melatonin will mess up your sleeping pattern. The blue light in the screens of laptops, smartphone, TVs, tablets give the wrong signal to Melatonin and brain restricts the release of Melatonin due to which you find yourself hard to go to sleep or you get an improper sleep. Thus, you feel tiredness, lethargy in the morning.
Skipping staring at the screen 1 hour before sleep will give you a peaceful sleep like a baby and a fresh real ‘Good Morning’. Improper sleep is a dangerous thing you can do to your body. If using screen is really important, turn on the ‘Reading Mode’, ‘True Tone Mode’ which limits the Blue light and gives a warm yellowish display.
7. Bonus Tips: Get a Pet
This is the most underrated thing but a Pet can teach you a lot of things. I am not talking about getting a fish or tortoise. Get a dog or a cat. A friendly breed of dog like Golden Retriever, Labrador, Husky, Beagle will keep you busy when you don’t have anything to do. If you have kids who are addicted to social media, gaming, and aimlessly scrolling on their phones, give them a dog. You will see a big change in their behavior, personality.
Tips for Healthy usage of Technology: Final Words
Technology is a gift to mankind and doesn’t ruin it because of your stupidity and ignorance. People are suffering from serious problems just because of their tech habits. People are breaking up over the internet, having issues with their self-confidence, suffering from anxiety attacks in public areas. Other than that, kids are getting obese because their body is not working as it supposed to be.
Watch out before it is too late for you and for your loved ones. Restrict yourself from using the internet, smartphone when you don’t have any purpose. Also, don’t spend more and more on fancy gadgets that you don’t need. Things were good in Nokia’s feature phone era.