Serious Health Risks Brought On By Gadgets
The world has witnessed tremendous technological advances over the past few decades and this is especially true with regard to computing and communication technologies. Desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones are constantly being upgraded, made more innovative and user-friendly.
Also, with the advent of a smartphone, everything from off ice work to entertainment including social life, is at one’s fingertips. Due to all these advantages and its conveniences we have become overly reliant on technological gadgets. Nevertheless, it should be kept in mind that these technological marvels bring with them several health hazards too. So, here’s a brief overview of some of these health concerns.
Risk Of Radiation
Most children constantly twiddle with their parent’s cell phones, playing games, watching videos etc. A few of them start having their own phones as well. Hence, the risk of exposure to cell phones and other wireless gadgets lasts over many decades. These devices emit a form of electromagnetic radiation which is the non-ionizing type of radiation different from the ionizing radiation caused by X-rays.
The non-ionizing radiation increases the temperature of the biological cells and may alter cell function over prolonged periods. There have been concerns of the effects of this radiation exposure especially with regard to the development of brain tumours like gliomas, acoustic neuromas and some salivary gland tumours. The World Health Organization has classified this radiation exposure as possibly carcinogenic.
Effects On Vision
Long hours of constantly viewing the monitor at workplaces, straining to read the line print on our small mobile screens or searching for the small keys on digital keyboards cause significant eye strain. Computer vision syndrome is a broad term used to describe symptoms of blurring of vision, eye fatigue. dry eyes, and headaches with prolonged monitor viewing.
Problems Of Pain
Many people sitting in front of their computers or laptops are troubled by neck, shoulder and back pains, mainly due to the posture they adopt while working. Frequent cell phone users are also plagued by neck pains due to tilting of the neck to one side while speaking on the phone or hunching their neck while constantly texting.
RSI or repetitive strain injury causing pain in the fingers and wrist due to typing on the keyboard or using the mouse and thumb pains due to tenosynovitis related to frequent texting are some of the other common problems.
A Sedentary Lifestyle
With almost the entire working day spent glued to our desks or sitting at home with laptops and phones, we are at a significant risk of falling prey to lifestyle disease like obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and coronary artery diseases. These diseases are the leading cause of death.
Loss Of Hearing
Quite a few cell phone users tend to use ear phones with their mobile gadgets. Constant high decibel sound exposure can cause irreversible damage to the audiometry nerve cells. Even regular periodic moderate sound exposure can cause lasting effects on hearing.
With the over dependence on electronic modes of communication and the need to stay constantly connected, our traditional social life has really been affected. Posting messages and uploading pictures on Facebook and sharing jokes or forwards on WhatsApp is all what our social lite has been reduced too. How long has it been since we actually got to visit or spend time with family and close friends?
Internet addiction leads to a multitude of psychosocial problems including an unnatural craving for attention, an unusually high level of self-esteem when ‘liked” by online friends, later a feeling of poor self-esteem, even depression and isolation when alone. Sleep disturbances and its physical effects especially for people working on night shifts in the IT industry and also sleep disorders in people who spend late nights being online on their laptops and phones are common concerns.
Problems With E-Waste
With the rapid innovations in electronic gadgets, most devices become obsolete or outdated within a few years and newer advanced models arrive in the market. Hence, the amount of electronic waste generated is very huge and our present reuse or recycle policy is still not efficient enough to take care of this problem.
The health hazards of e-waste include contamination of natural reservoirs with heavy metal residues leaching into the soil and ground water with spillage into regular domestic water and also into agricultural land onto the crops grown. The release of brominated compounds in the air is also a concern.