There’s no denying it – we’re all addicted to our electronic devices. We’re dependent on the wired world, needing instantaneous communication and information at our fingertips. Most can’t even sit through a meal without checking their Facebook a few times.
No one wants to hear it, but we’re paying a steep price for this behavior. Our tech habits are ruining our physical and mental health, and we don’t even realize it. Here are four digital maladies you should be aware of.
You see this all the time. Teenagers, commuters, shoppers, hunched over small objects, their necks jutting forward and down at an unnatural, excruciating angle.
They’re giving themselves ‘text neck’, a modern condition that can lay ruin to one’s neck and spine. Hunched over like Quasimodo checking smartphones, people are unaware that they’re putting immense strain on their necks and spines that will plague them for life.
“… as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.”
To put 60 pounds into perspective, that’s like carrying an 8-year-old around your neck for four hours a day.
The best way to combat this (besides using your phone less) is glancing down at your phone with your eyes rather than your whole head, and exercising your neck every so often.
Early and pervasive hearing loss isn’t solely a result of our digital devices; it’s also a product of the everyday noise we all consider normal like sirens, screeching subway trains, hair dryers, concerts, etc. Our phone are only contributing to this damage.
Earbuds and headphones, which many phone users use rather than slapping their phone to the side of their head, is extremely damaging. A lot of people use them to drown out the aforementioned background noise – they might want to start learning sign language now.
Spending inordinate amounts of time in front of a computer is ruining people’s looks. I mean, if that doesn’t convince you to take more screen breaks, not sure what will.
Cosmetic surgeons are reporting that more women are developing the dreaded “computer face,” a combination of permanent frown lines, wrinkles around the eyes from squinting and double necks from looking down for long periods of time.
“If you spend most of the time looking down then the neck muscles shorten and go saggy, eventually giving you a second neck,” cosmetic surgeon Michael Prager told the Daily Mail.
To stop your face from melting, get up, stretch your neck, change your expression, and move your screen to eye level.
Computer Vision Syndrome
How about the good news first? The good news is eye doctors have yet to find that Computer Vision Syndrome causes permanent eye damage.
The bad news: staring at a screen can cause pain and discomfort to the eyes, blurred vision and headaches.
The Scheie Eye Institute at Penn Medical Center says, “Reducing glare and harsh reflections on the screen by modifying the lighting in the room, closing window shades, changing the contrast or brightness of the screen,” will all help.
Finished reading? Now gives your eyes a break.