Excessive use of computers is bad for the overall health of the human body. Taking short breaks, leading an active lifestyle, and using proper posture are highly recommended in order to minimize any negative effects of a computer.
Computers have become a necessity in many aspects of our daily lives. From work to entertainment, we cannot seem to cut down on our screen time. Although computers provide many benefits including faster and more efficient work, limitless games and information, as well as social connections, there are a few dangers to consider when spending too much time tied to your screen.
Back and neck pain are two of the most common complaints from individuals who spend a large amount of time at their computer. This is largely caused by poor posture associated with long hours when it comes to working at the screen. The ideal posture for computer use is a straight spine and shoulders relaxed with elbows close to the body. Moreover, hands, wrists, and forearms should remain parallel to the floor.
Proper posture becomes even more challenging when working on a tablet device, due to its ability to be used from the couch, bed, or even our lap. Experts suggest using a tablet case that props up the device to help achieve ideal posture. When using any computer device avoid slouching, keep the screen slightly below eye level, and always sit in a chair that provides lumbar support.
A major concern surrounding the use of computers is the idea that they contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. Working at a desk, for sometimes upwards of eight hours a day, is detrimental to our muscular and cardiovascular systems. Additionally, screen time has replaced playing outdoors for many children. Researchers have found that those who are sedentary approximately 10 hours a day drastically increase their risks for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Poor eye health:
One of the most concerning effects of increased computer use is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). This 21st-century ailment is a combination of symptoms associated with eye strain from looking at a computer for an extended amount of time. Symptoms of CVS include redness of the eyes, blurred vision, dry eyes, double vision, and difficulty refocusing the eyes. This problem is especially troublesome given the increased rates of CVS in children.
Some studies are beginning to look at the effects of electromagnetic radiation that comes from computers. Computers are believed to generate low frequency, and radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. Increased radiation exposure leads to diseases like cancer, hormone imbalances, and risks to reproductive health. Additional studies must be performed in regards to this concern.
One of the most worrisome effects of computers is the way they are changing our society, especially in younger generations. Social media has encouraged an environment of social isolation and anonymity. Cyber-bullying is a very real concern in children, and studies suggest that as many as 25% of teenagers have experienced this phenomenon.
It is also difficult for young computer users to grasp the concept that what they put online lasts forever. Whether it be crude comments or risqué pictures, their actions on the computer can have lasting effects. As recently as February 2015, a student in Tulsa County, Oklahoma had their phone confiscated due to inappropriate pictures of another student. In Oklahoma, this could force the student in possession of the pictures to register as a sex-offender and face charges of child pornography. This occurrence is being seen in increasing numbers across the states. Children simply do not understand the legal implications of their activities on the computer.
Overall, computers are a huge asset to our everyday lives. They allow us to work better, be in touch with family, and expand our knowledge in ways never previously possible. However, with their physical and social risks, they should be used wisely, especially when it comes to the access that children have.
Possible short-term side effects
- back and neck pain
Possible long-term side effects
- decrease in vision
- radiation risk leading to disease
- children/adults incapable of proper social interaction
- social media connections
- business networking
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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 06-09-2016
Written by DeeAnne Oldham
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