Technology has helped pave way to the information age through computers. These are considered important tools for real-time communication and learning, for children and adults alike.
As the adage goes, “everything taken (or done) in excess is bad.” The same applies with excessive computer usage. Just as how using computers can help us with a few clicks and types, excessive computer usage can have negative effects on our health in the long run.
According to an article posted on TheWindowsClub.com, “over 30 million computers are in use throughout the United States,” with “the average American worker spending seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home.” However, along with the said increase are health problems which are associated with the too much use of computers.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), also known as Digital Eye Strain, refers to “a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use.” It is mostly caused by the glare on a computer screen, as well as improper viewing distances and poor lighting.
On the other hand, symptoms commonly associated with CVS include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Another common health problems associated with computer overuse is a condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It happens due to repetitive motions such as typing or any kinds of actions when the hands are lower than your wrist.
Common symptoms associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include numbness, tingling or weakness in the palm of your hand, thumb or your other fingers except the pinky finger.
In severe cases, a person with this condition may have less grip strength and coordination as well as loss of feeling in the fingers and loss of the ability to pinch using your thumb.
Our body posture changes in time due to constant adaptation to our environment.Likewise, how we use the computer can also affect our posture even if we are sitting in a comfortable chair, which can lead to back, chest and neck pain, and even permanent muscle degradation in worst cases. In addition, sitting for a long period of time without standing up, can reduce blood circulation that can also affect our muscles and bones.
As mentioned earlier, sitting for a long period of time can have a negative impact in our body. Moreover, it can also lead to obesity.In fact, “studies have shown that prolonged use of computers, especially in children, is the major contributing factor of sedentary lifestyle and childhood obesity,” according to an article posted on TheHealthSite.com.
Most companies require the use of computers (which are usually operated by their employees) as part of their daily operations. However, too much exposure to computers, lack of sleep, poor health and work environment can be a deadly combination to an average company employee, which can lead to stress. When that feeling of stress worsens, it can lead to other health issues that can greatly affect that person’s work performance.
How to lessen the effects of excessive gadget use
Some people need to use computers mostly due to their nature of work, others use it occasionally. Nevertheless, it is still important to remember the following tips to avoid the above-mentioned health problems associated with excessive computer use. (a) Adjust your computer screen either slightly lower or at eye level, and place your keyboard (preferably an ergonomic keyboard) where you can rest your elbows on your sides.
Your feet should be resting flat on the floor as well. When using the mouse, move your entire arm, not only your wrist. (b) Adjust the contrast or brightness of your computer screen to avoid eyestrain. (c) Take a short break from constantly staring at the computer screen by looking away from it from time to time, have some mini-stretching exercises especially for your arms, neck, or back, go for a short walk or have some exercise. (d) For children, limit their computer use and encourage them to play with other kids outdoors instead.
Technology is truly a blessing for humanity, but it can be a curse especially for those who don’t use it correctly. While using computers generally help make our lives easier, we should know our limits.
By being aware of the consequences of excessive use of computers and how to lessen its negative effects, we can be ensured that we can maximize the benefits of technology in our everyday lives.