We are all aware that every second person you brush with in public is attached to some kind of device, whether it be their mobile, laptop, smart watch, iPod or fit-bit. You can almost go about your entire day and not have to say hello or interact with anyone real anymore. Whilst this may seem appealing to some it doesn’t come without its own set of troubles. Staying connected 24/7 has seen us become more disconnected than ever before.
There is no denying that technology has improved the efficiency of the way we do things especially when it comes to business and progressing at a rate we have never seen before. There are many other positive aspects too such as keeping in touch with family and friends, knowing the where a-bouts of your children at any given time or simply being able to contact someone in time of need. Undeniably these are all good things, but as Oscar Wilde famously said “everything in moderation including moderation.”
A 2014 Nielsen report found that adults log a total of 11 hours of screen time a day. Here are some of the ways this might be affecting our health
• Vision. Staring into a screen for extended periods of time can cause “computer vision syndrome.” You’re probably familiar with the symptoms: strained, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Poor posture can also cause neck and shoulder pain.
• Sleep. Studies link heavy computer and mobile phone use to more sleep disturbances. University of Gothenburg psychologist Sara Thomée, one study’s lead researcher, says the blue light from digital devices suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, keeping us from having restful sleep.
• Addiction and reward seeking. Dopamine, the “feel-good hormone,” is part of the brain’s pleasure and reward circuits. Playing video games turns on similar brain regions as those linked to cravings for drugs and gambling, Ditto for social media — every time we see a new post or get a reaction to ours, it’s like a hit of brain candy.
• Weight. Even two hours of TV a day can increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease in adults. (Computer use doesn’t seem to have as strong a link.) There are probably several factors to blame, including less active time, less sleep, and seeing more ads for unhealthy foods.
• Overall health. Most of the time we’re on our screens, we’re sitting down. Sitting for hours at a time boosts the risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. One study found that spending more than four hours a day in front of a computer or TV more than doubles your likelihood of dying or being hospitalised for heart disease — and exercise won’t reduce the risk.
Here are 5 simple steps to get you started on having a healthy relationship with your device.
- No devices at the dinner table or at a restaurant.
- Turn your phone off at least 1 hour before going to bed
- Set a time limit for social media and stick to it.
- Do not text or talk about really important issues over the phone. Be face to face.
- Love the one you are with. When you’re with someone that relationship is your priority.
Technology is a powerful tool and a necessity for most of us. Use it wisely, learn to disconnect so you can reconnect.
Sources include: www.becomingminimalist.com