9 Ways Technology Is Slowly Killing Us All - InformationWeek

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6/24/2015
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Kelly Sheridan
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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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impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
6/25/2015 | 12:11:20 AM
Positives and negative

I am guilty of some of these vices but I still think that there are benefits to the evolution of tech. The challenge for users is balancing all the great positives of our devices with the negatives. Many vices we enjoy have the potential for addictive behavior if not managed and tech is just another one on the list. Awareness is the first step to addressing the issues.

SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 12:53:35 AM
Re: Positives and negative
Social isolation is a serious issue. People who don't interact are labeled introverts but when you go online you can see that these real life introverts are amazingly skilled in expressing themselves on Facebook or twitter. This happens because when they go online and when they come back to the real life they subconsciously set high standards of communication and cannot communicate to others when they see communication in real life is so basic.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 12:59:05 AM
Re: Positives and negative
There are more positives than negative but you cannot deny that the body goes through so much because of technology. Nowadays children and teenagers don't even look up from their smartphones and don't pay attention to the surroundings. People who haven't been the victims of the smartphone age, I.e. people who are in their early to mid twenties keep a balanced act.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 7:45:11 AM
Knowledge
The important thing now is that while technology may not help us lead healthy lives, the information is out there how to do it. There is no real excuse not to exercise or eat healthy when even 10 minutes of research online will give you all the details you need. 


GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 9:50:31 AM
Wow, more fodder for the paranoid
The author and subject of the first page interview makes many assertions, but doesn't give any actual data to back this up. He's not even a scientist - he's an activist. I recall hearing the exact same arguments when video game systems came out, then computer games. 

Children adapt to their environment. I can asset, from personal observation, that it seems many parents are glad to let the kids play with tablets and phones to keep them quiet. However, I don't know that this is causing "social isolation" - this is just the way they play now. Back in the 60s and 70s, kids would play with their toys in their bedroom, now they play on tablets. What's the difference? The eeeeeevil electronics! I don't think there is any more or less intereaction among kids than there has been in the past. If anything, there is more intereaction due to social media.

As for all these other things, there is usually some misinterpretation of so called "scientific" data that asserts things such as "sitting is bad for you" - give it 10 years and another study will come out that says "standing is killing you". Most of these make great fodder for "journalists" because they don't really have to investigate the source - if it is a scientific paper, for example, it is assumed to be credible. For years, they said eggs will kill you - now they are good. Red meat was going to make you die sooner - now it is great. Exercise will make you thinner - now it's more aobut genetics and exercise really doesn't make you lose weight. Always remember to look for the motiviation - either they are getting grant money to make a point or they are doing it for personal reasons and they are backed by some university that gets richer every year.

We don't have any truly objective scientists anymore. Don't freak out about articles, especially online ones. Just live life and enjoy the journey.
jkwalker111
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jkwalker111,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2015 | 10:27:54 AM
Standing Desk
I've had back trouble off and on for years.  Sitting at a desk all day/every day I also started to get puffy ankles & feet - quite distressing at age 50.  I got an Ergotron contraption that supports two monitors, keyboard and mouse and it's helped tremendously.  I suspect that I now stand for about 2/3rds of the time.  The back is much better and the edema has disappeared.  You don't need a $500 adjustable platform, either.  I have a coworker who puts her laptop on a couple of milk crates - viola - a standing desk.  Bottom line - try it out.  Google "Sitting all day kills you".
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:05:05 AM
Re: Positives and negative
This article pins the nail right in the head. The children have "digital babysitters." Kids sometimes act out on purpose, because they know they will be rewarded with tech time. It is manipulative, but parents do it because its easier than enforcing discipline. The long term effects is not worth it.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:08:02 AM
Re: Knowledge
@ Whoopty, We have all of the resources and knowledge at the tip of our fingertips, but sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. We might still cling onto unhealthy habits, because we lack the self-control, discipline, or motivation.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:09:45 AM
Technology addiction...really?
Well there another reason not to use facebook. But most of these arguments could be put onto books as well. Sitting and being sedentary are the same with a book in hand or my computer. (With the keyboard my fingers might at least see some exercise), focusing enough to not blink (I doubt I blink more when reading an engrossing book) and even the I don't recall phenomenon, if I have the book right there I might choose to look it up than try to remember.

And calling this technology addiction is a bit absurd. Addiction, is when it impedes the rest of your life, causing loss of relationships, employment and such. Most of the reason many of us use technology is for work, and facebook aside it means we can skype with people far away to improve our relationships. And kids are little more than walking ids and are going to play with the coolest most engrossing toys for as long as we let them, longer it their sneaky. That's not addiction, that being a kid and still learning that you benefit from sleep, doing your homework, and going to visit Grandma.

The only one I can really get behind here is sleep deprivation. When I turn off the tv and computers early and read or do something without all that blue light, I do sleep better.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:09:56 AM
Re: Positives and negative
@Sunita, Very true. The balancing act is difficult for many kids and adults. I have to make a conscious effort to not be hooked to technology by making sure I read books, paint, go for walks, and socialize with others in person.
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