The use of electronic devices, particularly mobile phones, has become a global concern. The use of gadgets has expanded rapidly as a result of rapid technological advancements. Smartphones are becoming increasingly popular among the entire public, especially younger generations. It is now widely recognized that using electronic devices for extended periods has adverse effects on one’s health, posing health risks. The younger generation is increasingly becoming captivated by gadgets and heavily reliant on them. The global COVID-19 lockdown has further exacerbated the problem. The students’ time on their electronic devices has grown due to the extended lockdown and virtual classrooms. Long-term device usage can cause side effects such as headaches, nausea, ophthalmological issues, and psychological side effects. While it is much easier for man to work their way around technology, it always has its downfall, especially when technology is not in the right hands. Here are some of the many adverse effects of using gadgets for an unnecessarily extended period:
Depression and anxiety
The amount of time you spend in front of a screen can harm your mental and emotional health. Experts believe that increased screen usage links to depression, an increase in suicidal behavior, and a decrease in one’s capacity to interpret emotions. People who use smartphones excessively are more likely to feel that their social relationships are not supportive and rewarding. They feel like they are not actively contributing to the happiness and well-being of others due to the reduced amount of face-to-face interaction.
Several physical discomforts
Musculoskeletal diseases develop in those who use electronic devices excessively. A repetitive strain injury is a chronic disorder that develops as a result of repeated, forceful, or awkward hand motions over time, causing damage to the muscles, tendons, and nerves of the neck, shoulder, forearm, and hand, resulting in discomfort, weakness, numbness, and motor control impairment. Long-term usage of electronic devices impacts the eyes, neck muscles, arm, and wrist. Too much screen time can cause bad posture, leading to chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain. Instead of sitting, get up and walk around, stand, or stretch. Ensure that your chair has adequate back support and that the device is at eye level.
Bad sleeping habits
Although it may be tempting to use your computer or phone before bed, studies have shown that these gadgets can disrupt sleep by decreasing melatonin production, a natural hormone released in the evening that helps you feel weary and ready to sleep. Short-wavelength enhanced light, commonly known as blue light, is emitted by electronic back-lit gadgets such as cellphones, tablets, readers, and laptops. Fluorescent and LED lighting are both blue light emitters. Blue light is known to suppress or delay the natural generation of melatonin in the evening and lessen sensations of drowsiness. Blue light can also limit the amount of time you spend in slow-wave and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep.
- Obesity can increase by spending too much time doing sedentary activities like playing video games or watching TV. It influences heart health, leading to an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Obesity in children and adolescents is caused by:
- Increased eating while using gadgets, which leads to increased calorie intake
- Seeing advertisements for high-calorie, low-nutrition foods and beverages, which changes preferences such as eating habits, especially for children
- Lack of physical activities that require vivid movement
- Disrupting sleep
Radiofrequency (RF) radiation is used by mobile phones to communicate with base stations. When RF radiation is strong enough, it has a “thermal” effect, elevating body temperature. Low amounts of RF radiation emitted by mobile gadgets resulted in health problems, such as migraines and brain tumors.
Addiction is one of the most common consequences of prolonging gadget use. Now that we are on a global pandemic, the chances of younger generations being addicted to gadgets are insanely high. Adolescents are more susceptible to gadget addiction than adults since they can easily concentrate while using gadgets. The prolonged use of electronic devices can have several harmful consequences, including changes in behavior patterns and adolescent behaviors. In general, variables from within persons who have not been able to regulate or control the limitations in using smartphones to make them experience addiction are influencing this addictive behavior. Addiction to gadgets will harm one’s social and emotional development. It also includes becoming a closed, private person and having sleeping problems.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in several behavioral and environmental changes. As a result, there have been both beneficial and harmful consequences. Individuals’ health has been harmed due to the growing use of devices for educational and recreational purposes.
However, the necessity to use technology to attend classes and work is at an all-time high. As a result, eliminating gadgets may not be the best answer, but moderating the use of such may be. Individuals must be mindful of the negative consequences of excessive usage of technology. It’s also crucial to be aware of methods for reducing the negative impacts of gadget use, such as limiting screen time and having optimal seating arrangements. The key to getting positive results from control measures is to use them more consistently. The inability to maintain restrictions causes the majority of the negative health impacts. It’s vital to create and stick to realistic expectations for controlling gadget use under the current lockdown situation.