It is a known fact that technology has completely altered the way we lead our lives, but there is a darker, much more detrimental side to technology that we largely ignore on a day-to-day basis. After numerous studies, it has emerged that the more time we spend surrounding ourselves with technology, the more likely we are to hurt our health, damage our ability to think critically and ruin our social lives.
Dr Maria Wimber, lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology, has put forward the idea that the Internet makes us more forgetful because of its ability to change the way our brains store information. She suggests that the Internet “makes us good at remembering where to find a given bit of information”, but not good at remembering the information as “we don’t attempt to store information in our own memory” – making us mentally lazy.
At the same time, technology psychologist, Larry Rosen, wrote in Psychology Today that in one conducted study, 81% of university students admitted to leaving their phones on and within close distance to them while they slept, causing major disturbances to sleep. This is a problem because chronic under-sleeping can cause our IQ’s to go down by more than 15 points.
Studies further prove that constantly checking our phones throughout the day makes us less productive and less able to focus on tasks that require more of our attention.
Even small things such as staring down at our phones all day to check text messages can cause drastic damage to our postures. Constantly bending our heads puts greats amounts of strain on our spine and neck muscles, causing detriments that get worse with age – while spending hours a day in front of a computer can cause our postures to become hunched.
MP3 players put our hearing at risk and significantly increases our chances of suffering from tinnitus, or ringing in ears, while eyestrain has become a common complaint among people who work on computers all day. According to Ophthalmologist, Dr Vicki Andersons, when we sit in front of a computer screen for extended periods of time, our blink rate reduces from 20 times a minute to once or twice a minute, which has a tendency to dry the eyes.
Additionally, we spend considerable amounts of time maintaining superficial connections online rather than dedicating our efforts towards cultivating deeper, real-life relationships. Instead of going out with our friends in order to catch up, we find out how they’re doing by just scrolling down our computer or mobile phone screens.
It has also been reported that social networking sites such as Facebook have a tendency to negatively impact our mental wellbeing by their ability to diminish self-esteem. Seeing pictures of friends on their best days while enjoying impressive trips can cause us to naturally feel low about ourselves.