Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is Technology Negatively Affecting Our Health?

Yes, the overuse of technology is negatively affecting our health due to potential hazards of magnetic  eye strain and overstimulation.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia
Watching television or surfing the web before bed lowers the sleep producing melatonin and increases alertness to things. That is why when you go to bed and close your eyes after looking at a screen for a long time, you will see flashing lights or a reflection of what you had just seen. “Out of a poll of 1,604 people, 95 percent reported that they used the internet before going to bed.”Huffington Post A lot of people are using computers and cell phones before bed, which means that they are probably experiencing the side effects of seeing the flashing lights.

Noise can affect your study habits as much as it can your health. An example of this was prevalent in two classrooms of New York. One was close to some train tracks where it was noisy and distracting. The other classroom was located on the opposite side of the building where it was quiet and could see the park. Results show that the classroom next to the train tracks “fell nearly a year behind” the others. A reason why noise affects people so much is because in everyday life you hear noises everywhere, whether it be the buzz from your phone or someone talking in a room next to yours. Your brain picks up all of these noises and determines whether they are wanted or unwanted. So, if you are in an environment that is very noisy, you might not work as efficiently because of the distracting atmosphere.

According to the National Cancer Institute phones emit radio frequency and affect parts of tissue that are closest to it. The rate of calls are going up. In 2000, 110 million people were connected to cellphone carriers. Now 330 million people are connected. Despite the consequences people are using cellphones for more than just calling and texting. People now communicate through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. I find using my phone to call someone or text someone more important than thinking about the risks of cancer associated with it.

With all of these factors people are moving towards life with less technology. The name of this phenomenon is called the 'pushback.' People who are not using technology as much fall into 3 distinct categories. There are the addicts, discontents, and the hipsters.Seattle Times. The addicts feel as if they are pressured into checking the web every five minutes and feel like they need to stay online at all times. They are tired of this and are deciding to live with less technology. The discontents feel as though they can spend their time differently than watching Youtube videos and reading blogs that don't relate to them. Instead they could be walking around the park or even holding their pet turtle. The hipsters feel as though too many people are using the social media and take pride in reading physical books rather than eBooks and listening to vinyl than mp3. After all, the pushback is real and it is starting to become more of a trend to stop using technology in our everyday lives.

In conclusion, the overuse of technology is affecting our health negatively. Surfing the web before bed and listening to music can be detrimental to us. That is why so many people are following the ‘pushback’ to live life with less, or even without using computers, cell phones, and other devices that harm us.

After writing on this topic, I have been trying to use my phone in a more efficient way, this includes not using it right before I go to bed and not carrying it in my pocket all day. This was hard for the first week because I got so used to the instant gratification my phone provided. For example if I wanted to call someone I could do it right then and there (depending on the situation) but now I wait to call them until the end of the day just to get used to not using my phone. Now I put my phone in my backpack and hardly use it throughout the day, I communicate with friends more often now because I broke that habit. I try not to get sidetracked when using my computer to reduce the time I’m on it and get my homework done faster so I can go to bed earlier and get more sleep. Before I would get sidetracked very easily, not only because I wasn’t aware of the terrible things my computer could be doing to my brain but because I could go to sleep easier after that. Although I have never studied with music I have even more of a reason not to. Before I read the article on music I thought that it was distracting to listen to music when it is loud and very energetic. I have heard many instances of classical music being good for studying because it is soothing. Now I know not to study with my favorite song on because you will know the lyrics and your brain will subconsciously sing along with them. Also those two to three seconds it takes for you to change the song you are listening to is distracting because that time can add up. All in all I really liked writing on this topic and I have learned a lot from it through the comments and the articles.
Thank you ~ Evan

15 comments:

  1. yes it is negativley affecting our brain

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  2. I don't think a lot of people do different things because "everybody is using technology." I think some just prefer it. A lot would rather read a physical book because they like to, not because they don't want to be part of the mainstream.

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  3. This is very interesting, I think that people dont realize at all about what technology is doing to our generation. This just shows you what people can do to spend their time more efficiently rather than using their phones just to keep them busy.

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    1. I totally agree with you. Before I go to bed there is that period of time where I am starting to charge my phone and laptop. During that short moment I usually want to check something on the internet, whether it be a game or another social media site, when I could be catching up on sleep.

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  4. I couldn't agree more with this article. It makes so much sense! I've always wondered why I get so little sleep... I use my phone right before I fall asleep every night!

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    1. It is very tempting to use your phone right before bed!

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  5. I found this to be a very informative article, Evan! I had not thought about how watching TV or being online right before bed affects our eyes, and on reading more about this problem, I learned that it also has a profound effect on the amount of sleep and the quality of sleep. An article on WebMD says that TV and video games stimulate and may add stress, increasing cognitive function and reducing chances for sleep. The glow of the electronic device delays release of melatonin which affects sleep. Thank you for your discussion of health impacts. ( The website is http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/power-down-better-sleep --Ms. Riches

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  6. Hi Evan~
    I really like how you talked about people who were cutting back on their use of electronics. After you found out about the effects of electronics on a person, did you cut back on your use of electronics?
    ~Himitsu

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    1. Thank you for your question Himitsu. I try to not use electronics before bed. This has helped my sleep.

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  7. Hi, Evan!
    I really enjoyed your article, and I can definitely relate to it. The funny thing is that I went to my doctor's office a few weeks ago and she asked me, "do you use your phone or any other electronics right before bed?" And I answered her yes, and she told me to consider its negative effects on our health, like how it may decrease one's quality of sleep. I also was not aware of how noises, such as listening to music, can negatively affect study habits; I better change that right now since I have my headphones in all the time! In your opinion, how do you think we could raise more awareness on this alarming issue to the general public? Should there be specific ads portrayed across screens informing individuals about technology's potential hazards if overused? Thank you for sharing this informative article. -VolleyDolly7

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    1. Very good question VolleyDolly7. In my opinion, some people might find it annoying if an add popped up saying that they have been using their phone for too long. But, even though technology is so detrimental to our health I still continue to use it in the same way I always have. For example, if I need to make a call, I will make it right then and there. We are living in a society of instant gratification. This is why people aren't changing their phone usage to suppress the old habits. Thank you for your question.

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    2. VollyDolly7, I'm so impressed that this came up in your doctor's office. That is a sure sign that people in the medical profession are paying more attention to the impact of technology, especially on teens. Great comment.

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  8. Hello Evan,
    I though your post was very interesting and it got me thinking. It made me think about where I put my electronics before I go to bed. I really liked how you explained what could happen if you are too close with your devices. Do you think that if people decided to not use electronics about an hour before they go to bed then this problem would not be as significant? You are right people should not be checking the internet 24/7 they should be doing something good for themselves, like holding their pet turtles. Thanks for sharing on this very important issue.
    -PACO

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  9. Evan, you have given us all some very important things to think about, thank you. Raising awareness of these health concerns is great, as so much of our technology is new enough that we don't yet understand the long-term effects. Though it sounds like you are still struggling to make changes to your behavior, you have noticed the difference in sleep when you don't interact with technology before bed time? This is something I need to work on as well. And I've recently been prompted to take better care of my eyes (which spend a lot of time looking at screens!), not only by your information, but by eye doctors. Here's an article on how ultra-violet light and blue light can lead to macular degeneration that I found interesting.

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