With the rise of the digital age, new technology is being constantly developed, and there’s always something shiny and new for us to get our hands on. But after spending hours scrolling into an Instagram hole or taking countless quizzes on what your spirit animal is, have you ever thought of all the negative effects that technology can have?
With our growing sedentary lifestyles and visual attachment to our tech, we’re unaware of the many different things that are going wrong with our bodies. If we’re not careful, we could be left with lasting harmful ailments — and we wouldn’t even be able to tweet about it. Here are some things to look out for next time you spend hours coming up with the perfect caption or trying to find that one relatable meme.
Baby got (a bad) back
With us constantly hunching over our technology and physically taking it all in, research has shown that our posture is getting wrecked. Whenever we lean over our phones or tablets, our head acts as a weight that is held at about 60 degrees — a 60-pound weight that puts direct pressure on our necks and strains our spines and backs.
According to New Zealand physiotherapist Steve August, that “grandma’s hump” we see in older people has started to be more prevalent in teenagers and young adults. Especially in the workplace, as one office furniture company demonstrated through illustration, there are multiple combinations of slouching and leaning that add up to bad news for our posture.
Face the facts
We all know that our phones are dirty — and I mean, really dirty. We take our phones everywhere with us, including the bathroom. Did you know that all that bacteria, dirt and grime accumulate and we put it directly onto our faces? Whether it be for phone calls or after being transferred from our Twitter fingers, our faces get full of all that grossness and could cause massive breakouts or even eczema. This is an easy fix though. Just remember to clean your phone every day and use hand sanitizer when you can!
No, that’s not a joke. Text claw is a real thing, and you’ve probably felt it before. Ever spent hours texting or scrolling, and your fingers and hands start to numb up or cramp from being in the same position for a long time? Yeah, that’s what text claw is. And what’s worse, after all that strained muscle tension, using your devices for extended periods of time could irritate any current conditions you might have, like tendonitis — inflammation of the tendons — or even any forearm/wrist pains. It could even lead to more serious conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
More: What Taking a Break From Tech Can Do for You
I spy with my tired eyes…
Extended periods of tech use can put a serious strain on your eyesight and cause tension headaches and dry eyes. Too much contact with bright screens and an excess of digital images can serve to tire out your eyesight, and it can decrease the accuracy of it too. With your eyes constantly focusing and refocusing to adjust to the new images and contrasting colors being put on your screen every few minutes, that intense digital attention can cause stress on your head as well, and you’ll start feeling the effects of that with pressure and tightness around your forehead, the back of your head and your neck — which just adds onto all the other problems.
Staying on your phone all day keeps you sedentary, and there’s nothing worse than sitting around and literally doing nothing — and no, scrolling does not count as physical activity. With us staying stationary for longer periods of time, our inactivity can literally cause weight gain. Not only that, but with how distracted we get, our sleep cycles get affected as well and we’re getting lesser and lesser amounts of sleep. Once our sleep cycles are affected, that can also add to weight gain, making it much easier to live a less-than-healthy lifestyle.
While there are many different advantages to the rise in technology in recent years, we can’t overlook the consequences that spending excess amounts of time with that tech can bring. If we learn to regulate our use and give our social media a break, or even a limit our amount of time online like we do with other things in our lives, then we’ll be able to combat all these negatives and really focus on the positives that digital media has to offer, no strings attached.