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.

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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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Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:12:01 AM
Re: Standing Desk
Even babies are using technology. There has to be a time limit for kids. I also think it is appropriate for people to know when and where is appropritate to use your devices. For example, technology should be off-limits at dinner, at Church, when company is over, etc.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:17:20 AM
Re: Standing Desk
The "digital babysitters" really sets the children up for developing difficulties in healthy social skills. I think it hinders kids from going outside to play and socialize with peers outside. The days of red light, green light are far gone. Kids feel more comfortable communicating digitally than they do in person. It hinders kids from learning how to appropriately act in a restaurant without a device in their face.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:23:37 AM
Re: Technology addiction...really?
@kstaron, I agree with you about the point you brought up about Skype. I think that out of all the different uses of technology, Skype is really the only one that really promotes social interaction via verbal/oral communication. It doesn't isolate people from others and promotes social interaction and conversation that involves eye contact, speech, and not typed communication.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:27:36 AM
Re: Positives and negative
@Sunita, I agree. I have a friend that comments and "likes" photos on our former childhood classmate's page. When we saw the childhood friend, she dodged behing a clothes rack in Macy's to avoid speaking to her in person. I thought this was very odd. The next day, she was back to liking the childhood friend's posts. There is definitely a component of social issues and technology linked together in that scenario.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:29:33 AM
Re: Standing Desk
@jkwalker. I wasn't even thinking about the correlation between back pain and technology use, but it makes total sense. I think I will take a break from the computer right now to stretch and takes a short stroll. lol
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2015 | 11:35:32 AM
Re: Standing Desk
@Kelly, And we wonder why teachers are getting blamed for not being engaging enough? LOL They are always told that they need to teach the curriculum in a way that engages the students. It is very rough. Look at the competition. Video games, twitter, etc. Kids need to learn to focus and concentrate on the teacher and content being taught. It is a skill that is fading. It boggles my mind as to why Mayor DeBlasio lifted the cell phone ban in schools. These kids were brought up with digital babysitters and are practically addicted to technology. Where will there focus be? School work or cell phone? The students need to be just as accountable as the teachers. Their futures depend on it.
JediSQL
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JediSQL,
User Rank: Guru
6/25/2015 | 11:39:18 AM
Correlation vs Causation
Social isolation is not caused by Facebook - Facebook is the symptom of social isolation.  Social isolation is caused by two main factors.  1) Law against drunk driving. One of the reasons alcohol is so popular is that it lubricates social interaction. When people cannot get together to drink, then people do not get together.  2) The endless fear mongering of the news, lawyers and governments. We are constantly bombarded with messages to not trust our fellow man. Parents do not allow their children out into the neighborhood to play and learn to interact with their community. Playing video games is all there is for them to do.

Facebook use and decline of happiness: The topic identifies correlation, not causation. It is highly likely that those using Facebook are looking to fill in something missing.

Screen time and weight gain: I read about a study that showed that video gamers on average are thinner than the general population on average.

People should get up and walk around.

Humanity's greatness is not in the memorization of facts. It is in the innovation of ideas based on available information.  When we spend less time researching and memorizing facts, we have more time to be creative, and with more information readily available, we have more resources to be creative with.  "... tweeting... Game of Thrones... might not remember everything..." 1) "might" shows there are no facts, just fear mongering.  2) Less clutter of the trivial in our minds leaves more room for the important.  3) The importance of entertainment is in the enjoyment of the art, not the proving we consumed it.

People have had ergonomics problems before computers.  If the ergonomics of computers become true problems, lawyers will start suing, insurance companies will enforce standards, and we will be OK.

When a student spends 2 to 4 hours a day reading school books, does that not cause pressure on the neck?  Or are they, as Luddite devices, exempt from causing human suffering?

One does need to be careful about loud sounds, but hearing reduction is not usually a cause of death.

Cyberchondria: All change involves chaos. People will learn to better filter the extreme access to information on the Web, and market forces will drive the innovation will lead to Web sites that better direct self-diagnosis.
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 .
JediSQL
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JediSQL,
User Rank: Guru
6/25/2015 | 12:38:51 PM
Re: Positives and negative
@impactnow, Society is moving inexorably from an monotasking mode of interaction to a multitasking mode.  Monotasking mode exists only because it was previously the only mode available.  Among the young that are not burdened by the accepted constraints of the past, they cannot imagine a world without multitasking interaction.  It has nothing to do with etiquette or respect.  The waves the new will always break away the rocks of the old. Imbrace the new or become a dinosaur that is locked out of the market of the young.
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.
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