9 Ways Technology Is Slowly Killing Us All - InformationWeek

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6/24/2015
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9 Ways Technology Is Slowly Killing Us All

The cost of technology addiction goes beyond pricey gadgets. Connectivity also affects vision, memory loss, weight gain and self-esteem.
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(Image: 742680 via Pixabay)

(Image: 742680 via Pixabay)

When we were young, technology addiction didn't merit as much concern as scraped knees and broken Legos. For today's youth, however, digital starts to take its toll as early as infancy.

If you haven't yet seen the development of tech addiction among today's youth, visit a family restaurant. Kids are fighting over iPads and iPhones, or silently engrossed in their own devices. Parents often stick a smartphone, or "digital babysitter" under the eyes of rowdy children to calm them down.

"They don't realize what it's doing," says Ben Halpert, vice president of risk and corporate security at Ionic security, and founder of nonprofit Savvy Cyber Kids. The seeds of technology addiction are planted earlier than ever.

[Women in Tech: Facing Roadblocks, Finding Solutions]

As they grow up, children are constantly encouraged to go online. Today's TV shows encourage live-tweeting; McDonald's Happy Meals let kids interact with their toys on the Internet.

"They're addicted before they even know what's happening," Halpert emphasizes. The boost in screen time increases the likelihood that children will experience low self-esteem, relationship problems, and difficulty with social interaction.

The problems related to tech addiction follow children as they develop into teens and enter adulthood.

"This is an issue for kids, for preteens, for teens and for adults," says Halpert. Adults addicted to technology also suffer from strained relationships and social problems. Those who have digital overload often aren't familiar with facial expressions and hand/eye movement that people frequently use to communicate.

Unfortunately, the problems associated with excessive digital dependence go far beyond social awkwardness. Adults who get too much screen time are also known to suffer from insomnia, short-term memory loss, eye irritation, and spinal damage.

Technology may have the potential to improve your health, but it can also be dangerous. Are you spending too much time online? Read on to learn more about the ways that excessive tech dependence could be damaging your health.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
7/6/2015 | 11:18:35 AM
Re: Technology addiction...really?
In school, I used to notice students taking pictures of professors' notes to save the trouble of recording their own. Seemed like a good way to quickly record the homework assignments, but I could never take notes that way. Personally, I remember things best by writing them down... may be old fashioned but it has always worked for me!
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
6/30/2015 | 5:18:42 PM
Re: Technology addiction...really?
@mejiac I've noticed this as well! Mostly on the impatience side. People will go nuts if there's a glitch in their PC or their smartphone freezes up - everyone is so used to technology working smoothly that they always expect it.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
6/29/2015 | 7:02:30 PM
Re: Wow, more fodder for the paranoid
>Perhaps, we're seeing the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Elon Musk in the making.

That will only happen if people are using devices to create rather than to consume or get lost in social media labor.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
6/29/2015 | 9:33:38 AM
Re: Technology addiction...really?
@impactnow it's tricky to say. While it's becoming more accepted, tech addiction isn't technically recognized as a behavioral health disorder so the condition isn't really covered. That said, there are some problems that stem from tech addiction (anxiety, depression, etc.) that are covered by insurance, so I guess your coverage depends on your problem, insurance plan and doctor.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
6/26/2015 | 12:12:30 AM
Re: Technology addiction...really?
I didn't realize it was an accepted addiction--does insurance pay for treatment of a tech additction as a behavioral problem?

 
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2015 | 3:28:24 PM
Re: Technology addiction...really?
@kstaron it's crazy that society has come to this, but I found there are legitimate rehab programs for people who use technology to the point that it starts to interfere with their normal living patterns and place stress on their family and friends. Pennsylvania's Bradford Regional Medical Center, and reSTART in Falls City, WA (ironically, right near Microsoft HQ) are two examples. The condition is especially well-known in parts of Asia (China, Taiwan, South Korea), where it's a more widespread issue.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2015 | 3:20:27 PM
Re: Standing Desk
I think implementing technology into a school program is very, very tricky and don't envy the teachers who have to do it. The idea of tech in the classroom puts instructors in a difficult position. Yes, today's kids must be equipped with tech skills in order to get ahead... but how do you make sure they're actually learning and not just talking to their friends or playing games behind the screen?
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2015 | 3:17:22 PM
Re: Standing Desk
@angelfuego agreed. It's something I didn't think much about until I started exploring the effects of technology on health, but kids miss so much when they're staring at a screen. Facial expressions, hand gestures, basic social norms won't sink in if all their communication is online.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
6/25/2015 | 12:47:10 PM
Re: Positives and negative
It's important to note it not only kids that overuse technology and negatively impact social relationships I've seen many adults who think it's perfectly acceptable to stare at the phone while talking. Many things in life can be addictive but also enjoyable the key is to manage usage and impacts.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
6/25/2015 | 11:59:16 AM
Re: Positives and negative
I agree that the younge kids need to be managed when using technology I have seen many teenagers and college students talk to me while reading their phones and not even understand that it's rude and disrespectful . The issue isn't with having technology the issue is how you use your technology every day and the implications it has to your social and professional relationships . I use technology as a reward for good behavior with my young child she doesn't get to use her technology if her behavior is not appropriate. BTW I don't think the problem is just with kids I've seen many adults come to social gatherings and stare at their phone the entire time . I also think that this is unacceptable .
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