Technology is a blessing. That's an argument you may easily be able to argue. When one thinks of how the Internet, social media and automation have helped to make life easier, one cannot help but agree to such an argument. After all, by definition, technology is the application of scientific knowledge to make life easier and more enjoyable.
However, it is only a one-sided view of the matter when you only consider the positive effects of new technologies. They also come with their problems.
In fact, these problems can be very scary, more so when you think of possible effects on the younger generation. These issues occur more because of dependence that some people often develop when using technology.
So what are these harms technology can bring? We discuss some of those here. They range from physical to mental and social. And we think you are very likely to re-consider how you use modern technologies after you are done reading.
Do you find yourself using one form of technology or another for the greater part of your waking hours? You may be addicted. And you are not alone. In this age, many of us are highly dependent on technology. Little wonder they say we are in the "Tech Age."
For instance, it is not uncommon to find people feeling uneasy when they do not have their phones or any gadget at hand. A 2012 study reported majority of subjects feeling panic when not with their phones. In another 2014 study, heavy smartphone users showed higher anxiety levels in only 10 minutes of having their devices taken away.
Access to the Internet is a major reason why many individuals care so much about their phones. These love to find information, get latest updates and connect with friends on the go. Research suggests that some users experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of drug abusers when offline.
Constant use of devices can cause you to experience neck pain. This is especially the case when using mobile devices. A study showed that this puts pressure on your neck and spine. This is due to how you will often need to tilt your head to stare at your phone screen. Besides, you may also experience wrist pain.
It has also been reported that staring at a screen for a very long time can make you have headaches. Temple muscle spasms can result from reading on a bright screen.
Excessive screen-staring can cause you to have eye strain. This is a factor in the headache you may also experience. If you are the type that works in front of a screen for the greater part of your day, you are at risk.
When you stare at a screen for a very long time, your eyes become tired. This causes them to have less fluid and makes your vision blurry. Most Americans reported having such eye strain. Your vision worsens gradually and you may soon need to use glasses if this is left unchecked.
Good quality sleep is vital to maintaining good health and aging gracefully. Sadly, you may be sacrificing its awesome benefits as a result of how you use technology. This is especially so if your screen staring continues till bedtime.
For one, this is unhelpful in that it doesn't allow enough time for your brain to cool off before you hit the sack. It is not uncommon to find that you have disturbed sleep when this is the case. You may observe that you have nightmares more when this happens as well.
The light emitting from the screen of your devices can also disrupt your sleep cycle. This can hinder the release of the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for the regulation of sleep and wakefulness.
The advancement in technology has made more and more people to be living isolated lives. You may find this surprising knowing we are now in a “global village.” There are less and less face-to-face interactions than ever before. The availability of services such as Skype has not been and will not be able to replace these.
As a result, more and more people feel loneliness. They do not spend as much time making normal physical and social contact with others. Instead, more time is spent operating devices, watching TV or playing games.
Researchers have observed a link between loneliness and use of social media. For a group, people turn to these sites because they are lonely. Others think that social media can give rise to feelings of loneliness.
As paradoxical as it might sound, the latter view is also valid. You may feel like you do not have enough friends when you see others having thousands. This could make you feel lonely. Yet, social media friendship means little, if anything.
The use of technology can also cause issues in relationships, be it between lovers or within families. Someone who is addicted to social media and the Internet, for instance, may constantly be staring at screens, even when with other people. They may not pay as much attention as they ought to others. Of course, dissatisfaction and quarrels may result.
A survey by Pew Research Center showed that a good number of couples argued on the use of devices. About 25% of partners who used cell phones were reported to be distracted by such. This isn't a good sign for great relationships.
Observation shows that not as many people as before have good social skills. Man has long been described as a social animal. That is, sadly, becoming less and less the case.
The personal touch is lacking. Online interactions do not allow for proper evaluation of body language, which is part of social skills. In physical interactions, you may be able to tell what a person has in mind, even when they may be saying another thing.
There is arguably nothing better than face-to-face interactions. Sadly, those are increasingly becoming things of the past. If care is not taken, many will find it extremely difficult to interact with others in years ahead.
Narcissism is having exaggerated view of oneself. You can also describe it as overblown sense of self-importance. Technology, social media in particular, encourages this. How?
You will find on social networking websites persons having hundreds or thousands of friends. However, these same people have very few real friends in "normal" life.
Having many friends only can make these people feel highly important. They lose sense of the reality. They could possibly become deluded so much to the extent of thinking they are super-humans of sort. Those with this problem may be lacking in empathy for others.
The Internet and social media, as good as they may be, have unfortunately become tools for deviants as well. It can be argued that technology contributed greatly to the sex craze in modern society. People are exposed to explicit sexual content via the TV, phone or the Internet. It is more shocking that this exposure now occurs at younger ages.
Gone are the days when pornography was found only in magazines strictly for adults. Children would usually find such only as a result of a mishap, so to say. It is now everywhere. These days, young people easily access pornography online and carry same around on their phones and laptops.
Sexting – texting of sexually explicit content – wouldn't have happened without the phone. The rate at which it is done currently should be disturbing for every right-thinking person. An increase was reported in the incidence of sexting between 2012 and 2016. One in five person surveyed said they got such messages from someone they knew.
America and many other countries are currently battling with a serious problem of obesity. More and more people are becoming obese, with these contributing to a variety of health issues. The use of technology has made more and more people less active. Sedentary lifestyle is a consequence and this is a serious problem.
Practically everything about technology, especially those regular people use every day, encourages sitting in the same place for a long time. You can think of TV watching, video game playing or use of social media. Automation is another aspect that tends to make people have low activity levels.
To underline the danger of less activity, some people have likened sitting to smoking. They describe it as the “new smoking.” Well, you already know the problems smoking can cause to your health, we assume. This essentially means sedentary lifestyle, which technology encourages, can give rise to similar.
The reduction in activity is not the only way the use of technology can contribute to obesity. When having your fun time, as you may call it, you may feel like you need to take it to another level. This could mean getting something to munch on. Worse still, your choice may be an unhealthy one. You can easily become overweight or obese as a result.
Automation can create disruption in the job market. While it might make life easier, it can also lead to the loss of jobs for some workers. This is a phenomenon that has played out for some time and looks to continue to be that way in the future.
Manual workers will no doubt suffer from extensive use of machine in industries. But, as strange as it might sound, office personnel may suffer more, especially when one considers the loss of status that may be experienced. These may find their positions lowered close to those of persons tending to machines.
The use of machines can bring about tensions between employers and their employees. The latter wouldn’t want to be thrown out of their jobs, while the former will care more about profitability. This can hinder productivity and bring about less desirable outcomes for both parties.
You may subject yourself to psychological stress from undue use of technological gadgets. Being always online and staring at screens can mess up your mind.
The expected introduction of machines can also put workers under immense pressure. Stress is also inevitable when looking at the possibility of being rendered redundant. Even if there is no loss of job, adaptation to new working conditions may be stressful.
There have been reports of people being involved in accidents while using one device or another. If you think about it, you may find there were times you left what you should have done unattended while using your phone or browsing the Net. This is an example of the distraction that can happen.
A 2015 survey of some adults in America showed that technology was a big distraction. Of more than 450 respondents, almost half reported being distracted by their devices when with their romantic partners.
Technology is not only a distraction when you are using it. It is also an issue when you are not. The addiction that it encourages can hinder your ability to focus on the matter at hand when doing something important, even when your devices may not be nearby.
Research has shown that people who spend significant amount of time online tend to have shorter attention span. This can make you become the mythical goldfish with very short memory.
When using social media, for instance, you may engage your brain in serious multitasking with a variety of information to process. This is not necessarily a good or an innocuous thing. This may rewire your brain in a way that your attention span suffers. Experts say the use of social media has cut attention span of users to just five minutes, from 12 minutes.
If you spend five or more hours online a day, you may find that you do not remember things as well as you once used to. This could worsen to the extent of you not even remembering your birthday’ let alone those of others.
Technology actually provides almost all the right ingredients depression needs to rear its ugly head. Talk about lack of exercise, poor eating habits and lack of physical interactions – you have them all. It is unsurprising then to see the rate of antidepressant prescriptions going through the roof.
A study by researchers at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine found increased risk of depression among young adults. The danger was greater when higher amount of time was spent on social media. Some other studies also suggest that it impacts mood, feeling of wellbeing, and life satisfaction.
Experts have expressed fears about how the use of technology can impact considerably on development in children. The scarier aspect is that the possible extent of this is not fully clear for now since most technologies we use today are relatively recent.
In recent years, we have seen a considerable surge in the use of technology by children. This exposes them to the negative effects and the degree is greater for them since they are still undergoing development.
Wi-Fi hotspots are everywhere these days. In many public places, you will find people taking advantage of them – of course, many of these also use the opportunity to access social media. Little did many men know that their sperm production would be made to suffer from using Wi-Fi, according to research.
The risk is greater when it comes to those Wi-Fi enabled devices you use on your lap, such as a notebook. Some researchers found that electromagnetic radiation reduced sperm motility and caused DNA damage in men exposed to it for four hours.
You are not necessarily off the hook if you happen not to use laptops that much. There is evidence that men who put their phone in their pants or trousers pockets can suffer similar fate.
It is alarming looking at the rates violent incidents happen in modern society. News of irrational shootings is no longer uncommon, and it’s sad. Some people argue that technology actually plays a role in this.
As already mentioned, loneliness is one of those fallouts from the use of technology. People may be ready to do anything or harm anybody when they do not feel any sense of belonging. When someone doesn’t feel valued, they probably won’t think twice before harming others, even when the act may cost them their life.
Videos games appear to be becoming more and more violent and many people don’t seem to be alarmed by this. Highly violent action movies are regularly box office hits. Violence just seems to get the fluid flowing in some people.
It may be argued as well that technology contributes to crimes. Not all forms of crimes are violent. Some are not, but are equally very dangerous. These include hacking, identity theft, fraud, cyber stalking, and cyber terrorism.
There are increased efforts to make application of smart home technology more widespread. But some people have mentioned the possibility of criminals compromising the system. Since things work connected to the Internet, there is risk of these dubious characters taking control of your home. Very unpleasant things can follow when that happens.
You can never be really sure your privacy is protected these days. Ever wondered how those odd marketers or salespeople got your contacts? Well, that goes to show your information is no longer as private as you might think.
It is possible for someone to type a bit of your info on Google and learn more about you, except your information hasn’t found its way online. Hackers and other shady characters take things even further.
Some users are the ones putting themselves in trouble, though. Imagine someone sharing everything they do with the general public online via social media. Those with evil intentions can work with this information to strike.
Even when you take some steps to protect yourself and don’t share sensitive information, you can never be completely certain no one is eavesdropping on you. The revelations by Edward Snowden come to mind here. It is feared that greater surveillance may be expected in the future.
Advances continue to be made in the area of automation. Some now say machines or devices will be more intelligent than humans sometime in the future, going by current machine intelligence, robotics, and cybernetics developments. Doesn’t that bring some sort of apocalypse to mind?
You can only imagine what happens to our world if machines were to become more intelligent than us. Some of the scenes you have seen in some sci-fi movies will most likely start to play out. Humans will effectively become subordinate – slaves – to machines. Who wants that?
Technology is making life easier, no doubt, impacting on different spheres of life positively. But moderation is key when making use of it. Determine where to draw the line to protect yourself. Your physical and mental health is more important, or should be.
Make it a habit to get off your sit often and take breaks from the screen staring. There is life out there without the technology – it has always been. Striking a balance between usage and normal life activities will make a whole lot of difference.
25 Negative Effects of Technology - RooGirl
Sneaky Ways Technology Is Messing With Your Body And Mind (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/05/health-effects-of-technol_n_6263120.html)
How To Avoid The Negative Effects Of Technology On Life | Aha!NOW (https://www.aha-now.com/negative-effects-of-technology/)
3 Ways Technology Can Negatively Impact Your Relationships (https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/3-ways-technology-can-negatively-impact-your-relationships-0919167)
Negative social effects of automation | World Problems & Global Issues | The Encyclopedia of World Problems (http://encyclopedia.uia.org/en/problem/140677)
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