Digital Health

By Rishima Mall

A group of teens on their phones. Photo from Inc.

To be digitally responsible is to imply that one uses technology in a manner that is not harmful to others and to comprehend the impact that technology has on our health, environment, and society in general. The amount of time that we spend on screen has been steadily increasing. With the development of the iPhone, the frequency and the manner in which we utilized screen technology has dramatically evolved. We have studied the impact that our diet, sleeping patterns, exercise, and professions have on our health; however, we have only begun to explore how electronic screen devices impact human health.


Health experts generally agree that excess screen time does impact human growth and psychological development to a certain extent. More obvious and immediate health effects include eye and muscle damage and sleep deprivation, consequences of staring at screens, typing, and poor posture.


According to the American Optometric Association, approximately, 40% of optometrists' patients suffer from eye strain caused by the computer vision syndrome while 45% complained of neck and back pain associated with computer or handheld device use1. Physical health conditions that are associated with technology can be mitigated by adjusting posture, screen setting, and regulating usage.


However, the subtle impact of technology on our psychological health must also be considered. According to Everyday Health, a study conducted by the University of California found that most people absorb three times as much information per day then they would have fifty years ago.2. Researchers assert that too much information can influence our psychology; however, the opinions regarding the nature of that impact conflict.


Social media is also considered responsible for causing emotional instability in teens.1 The notion of dependency on friends and parents displayed by teens in order to feel validated is also further encouraged by social media. Although harder to identify, psychological health problems can also be prevented through adjusting online behavior.


It is clear that our usage of technology has a tremendous impact on our health. Being overly connected may lead to psychological and physical health problems, thus nullifying the possible benefits of technology for our health.


References

1.The Real Effects of Technology on Your Health. (2017, November 15). Retrieved August 18, 2018, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/internet- addiction/real-effects- technology-on-your-health

2. Health and Technology. (2017). Retrieved August 18, 2018, from http://www.digitalresponsibility.org/health-and-technology/

3. How Does Technology Use Affect Men's & Women's Health? (2017). Retrieved August 17, 2018, from https://www.nwpc.com/how-does-technology-use-affect-mens- womens-health/1/