With the rapidly growing number of people in the world who have access to technology, the negative effects of technology have also increased in number. The application of scientific knowledge and techniques put in place by individuals for the attainment of practical works in our daily life refers to technology. This could be as simple as a switch or a piece of more complex equipment. Whichever the case may be, technology makes our life easier as it assists with different multiple purposes, saves time and effort.
Even though some aspects of technology have been largely beneficial and positive, the fact remains that the negative effect of technology (which is born out of the misuse and abuse of technology)is gaining ground and should be curtailed as soon as possible. So, before we expand on the negative effects of technology, the reasons for having technology will be discussed to give us a better picture.
What are the reasons for having technology?
Technology fills the gap, the gap between our need or want and where we are. Therefore, technology was created to serve as the bridge or link between our need/want and our current point. The distinct reason for technology is to improve growth, education, security, collaborations, communication, empowerment, sustainability, health, safety, innovation, and the positive impact on the environment.
Also Read: Negative Effects of Online Games to students
Nine negative effects of technology
A lot of us experience one way or the other the negative effects of technology on us, discussed below is the list of some of its impact on our lives.
- Sleep problems
- Digital eye strain
- Mental health problems
- Poor posture
- Reduced physical activity
- Lack of attention
- Social Isolation
One of the fundamental causes of sleep disorder in this current age is our electronic devices (technology). This is because the light emitted from our devices whether phones, tabs, laptops, desktops, television etc. stimulates the brain and keeps it active even after the light goes out. This light disturbs the natural process and rhythm of the body limiting and disrupting sleeping activities making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Also, another downside is that we intentionally or unintentionally stay up very late surfing the internet, working, texting acquittances, reading e-books or binge-watching movies. Even when we dose off, we continue the activity once our eyes open. It has become harder to prioritize a good night sleepover pressing our digital gadgets.
Engaging in these sorts of behaviours regularly interrupts our sleep pattern and gradually lead to a sleep problem or a disorder, this is because our brain production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) has been altered. Sleep disorders have also been associated with memory loss, poor work or academic performance and can affect the individual’s physical health drastically.
Symptoms of a sleep disorder include sleepiness at inappropriate times, difficulty sleeping at night, daytime tiredness, irritability, anxiety etc.
Digital eye strain
Asthenopia which is also known as Eye fatigue or eye strain refers to the condition where our eyes become tired from intense use over a long period. When this condition occurs due to long screen time, it is referred to as digital eye strain.
High glare through a poor lightning condition, poor positioning of the gadget and long screen time can lead to the eyes becoming strained. People tend to blink less when they stay in front of their screens such as phones, tablets, television, laptops etc. for a long time. This in turn leads to the eyes become dry and strained.
Also, people with poor eye conditions are at greater risk of experiencing eye strain more quickly while using gadgets.
Symptoms of eye strain include light sensitivity, headache associated with light, burning eyes, itchy eyes, watery, dry eyes etc.
Mental health problems
Mental health problems refer to a variety of conditions or disorder that affects a person’s behaviour, mood and/or thinking. This includes depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.
Due to the competition and comparison on social media, the users post content to project themselves in a better light and to boost their confidence which gives them a feeling of belonging in their peer circle. And when the expected feedback is not gotten, depression and anxiety about the state of their social media presence may likely set in.
Also, negative social interactions have been shown over time to increase depression and anxiety while positive social interactions have been shown to lower depression and anxiety. There are more negative vices and interactions online and this can lead and has led many people to depression and anxiety.
While looking for online validation, we tend to miss out on the valuable network of friends we have physically and around us that we can build with. Mental health problem is one of the negative effects of technology on us. Symptoms of mental health problems include muscle tension, headache, nausea, tremors, nightmare, fear, anxiety etc.
Also Read: How to learn to love physics
Poor posture refers to the situation where the spine is wrongly positioned in the body as a result of the buildup of pressure in the area. Technology on its own does not affect posture but how technology is used by the recipients. The way and manner devices and gadgets are used by individuals are what contributes negatively to their poor posture, and as time goes on, this will ultimately lead to having musculoskeletal problems.
Putting an unnecessary amount of burden on the spine and neck by hunching forward and looking down while using these gadgets can lead to having poor posture and pain. Symptoms of poor posture may include upper or lower back pain, body aches, head that leans to the front or back, hunched back, slouching, rounded shoulders etc. Poor posture is also one of the negative effects of technology.
Reduced physical Activity
Digital tech ranks as one of the top things that have kept more people glued to one spot and inactive amongst other things. The more an individual use technology the more they develop a sedentary lifestyle. Reduced physical activity is said to be associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and a high risk of metabolic syndrome.
Technology use such as playing video games, watching television, surfing the internet and general computer use has been found by researchers to interrupt one’s daily activities leading to decreased physical activity, physical socialization, and interaction with others. Physical activity which is needed to improve the overall physical body, stabilize blood pressure, body weight, immune system amongst others can become reduced or hindered with physical activity is reduced. This is one of the negative effects of technology.
Warning signs of reduced physical activity includes but not restricted to high blood pressure, back pain, hunger, mood swings, overweight, pre-diabetic, tensed, joint pain and/or high sugar level.
Technology has separated more families than keep or bring them together. This is because we have come to rely so much on technology that face-to-face contact and human contact have become almost non-existent for some. Technology that was designed to bring people together has ended up having the opposite results. Social isolation is quite different for different age groups, with the younger generations experiencing it more.
The inability to stop behaving in a particular way or using a substance that could be physically or psychologically harmful is addiction. Addiction is not limited to the use of substances. It is broadly divided into two types of namely chemical addiction and behavioural addiction.
Chemical addiction refers to the type where a substance is used, while behavioural addiction refers to pattered behaviours with little or no benefit that is carried out by an individual.
The use of technology has triggered the uncontrolled increase and addiction of both its’s use as well as other behavioural addictions such as watching playing video games for hours non-stop, surfing the internet and abandoning work, being addicted to pornography and the likes. Also, it’s proven that technology has been taking advantage of the weakness of the human mind leading to neurochemical disproportions in the brain. Researchers also found out that negative changes are displayed in people addicted to their smartphones.
Symptoms associated with addiction include poor work or school performance, incapable of stopping the habit or intake of the substance, physical changes to body or behaviour, lashing out or being defensive.
Violence is a worldwide issue that leads to over a billion people each year losing their lives. The deliberate use of power or physical force against oneself or another that will lead to the possibility of death or injury is violence. WHO divides violence into three large categories namely self-directed violence, interpersonal violence and collective violence.
The process where one inflicts harm to oneself refers to self-directed violence. While interpersonal violence relates to any form of harm inflicted by one person or a group of persons on another person(s). Lastly, the act of inflicting harm on a group of persons by another set of persons either for economic or political reasons refers to collective violence.
These categories further break down into four distinct types namely physical, sexual, psychological and neglect violence.
Using technology (social media), violence has been rapidly triggered and overblown fueling deadly protests and attacks in communities and countries. The use of technology has given room to mischievous individuals to propagate rumours and slanders against other individuals and communities resulting in wild spread hate crimes, religious, interracial, and gender-related crimes.
Technology has been seen to play a role in both online and offline coordinate violence in this age of cut-edge technology. Violence is therefore one of the major negative effects of technology.