Technology – in the darker ages some of us might recall, the digital age promised to bring with it a better, simpler, more efficient society and make life easier for the average person. Visions of robots taking out the garbage were painted in our minds.
At first the promise looked like it might be true – the TV was such a spectacular gift. A little while after we were given the gift of bringing movies, actual movies shown only in theaters, into our home with the Betamax, which was soon replaced with the improved VCR, which was zapped by wired in cable TV. Since, cable TV has become digital, allowing you to download digital apps, and even connect to other digital devices – which bring in even more digital content.
Alongside the latter devices came the evolution of digital gaming – away with the board game! Pac-Man on the Atari was the first addictive game, a big dot-mouth travelling a maze while trying to avoid ghosts and get a higher score than your friend by eating little dots all along the maze. Before was Pong, bouncing an electronic ball between your and your opponent’s paddles, and after came Asteroids – shoot the aliens, save the Earth.
Then digital really took off. Here is a list of technologies we have accepted into our lives over the past several decades: desktops, handheld digital games, dial-up internet connection, laptops, all-in-ones and accessories, cable and satellite internet connection, geographic positioning and information systems, Wi-Fi, 3D graphics, nanotechnology, social media, virtual reality, drones, just to name a few. This is a rudimentary list of technologies, and many more are found between each entry, and the future will be incredible.
In its rapid development, technology has had dire reverberations upon user’s health. Being glued to the screen, user’s poor diet and lack of physical exercise often results in obesity, which has led to the surge of heart disease and strokes. Researchers are also finding that poor diet, lack of physical activity, and obesity are associated with the dramatic rise of the various forms of dementia, notably Alzheimer’s disease. The blue light emitted by monitors has adverse repercussions on our quantity of sleep, which then impairs both our physical and mental health.
Social media platforms and cell phones have been shown to be causally related to the surge of depression and suicide. Many researchers also contemplate the result of social media upon our population over time. I have heard the following hypothesized: loss of interpersonal communication skills leading to conflict, loneliness and depression, and treatment of the world as a virtual environment leading to environmental disasters.
Most recently, it has been discovered that cell phone selfies have serious health consequences. San Francisco physician Dr. Levi Harrison describes a ‘selfie wrist’ as a form of carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Harrison and multiple other physicians are treating a growing number of ‘selfie wrist’ injuries.
Showing a more critical impact of selfies, a research paper in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found the occurrence of 259 selfie deaths between October 2011 and November 2017. Some of the reasons for mortality include animal attack, drowning, electrocution, and falling (to the ground, into traffic, or causing a firearm to discharge). Beware of the selfie, the results could be deadly.