12 April 2016
Living in the computer age, it is difficult to tell anyone, ‘do not use your computer, it will kill you’.
The saying, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is barely true when it comes to dealing with computers. Though computers are not directly capable of killing, the negative health effects that come with using computers unreasonably and out of proportion are capable of leading to death.
Like every other thing fighting to kill humans in the 21st century, including the new planet which they say might be capable of killing us, computers might become one of the leading causes of death – we just don’t know this yet or how serious it is.
New electronic gadgets hit the market every day. Technology has reached heights we never imagined; not even as half a decade ago. Man is daily becoming more dependent on computers.
There are even much smaller and smarter versions of computers now: laptops, netbooks, tablets etc. All these have ensured that man has a computer kind of device on him every minute of the day.
Computers have made life a whole lot easier for man by making information more accessible. The internet has played a vital role in the relationship between man and computers. With the internet, you can connect with different people around the world. Computers are very efficient tools in that they help us get more work done in less time.
With all the good things computer has offered and has to offer, it is only logical to ask how something with so much good can kill, after all they’re the best thing since sliced bread.
Whether we like it or not, excessive use of computers has negative effects on Man’s health. Both the mental and physical health of a man who uses computer in excess can be adversely affected by a number of conditions, though easily treatable, can cause death if not checked on time.
The excessive use of computers leads to a condition popularly known as computer addiction. Computer addiction, particularly internet addiction is more common among young people. It involves high dependence on computers, feeling an intense desire to be online, play computer games. Individuals addicted to computers often prefer spending time on the computer to socializing. They are constantly preoccupied with the computer whether online or offline, and this condition leads to isolation, anxiety, and eventually depression.
Apart from the mental health problems that computer addiction can lead to, excessive screen-time behaviours; using a computer for more than 2 hours at a go, daily have been linked with elevated blood pressure, elevated serum cholesterol, and being overweight or obese.
Other physical health problems are:
- The sitting can kill you
Be it in front of the computer, the TV, or while reading a book, sitting for long stretches of time is a serious health risk.
- It affects blood circulation.
- Your back experiences a steady stress.
- You are likely to drink and eat stuff that isn’t good for you or you end up skipping meals
- You burn very little calories, making it more likely that you overeat.
These altogether contribute to leading causes of death: diabetes, heart disease, and consequently a shortened life span.
- Staring at the screen causes eye defects
Staring at a bright screen for hours can lead to twitching eyes, eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, burning, itching or tearing eyes, and temporary vision disorders. Fortunately, eye strain rarely results in a permanent condition and symptoms can be prevented or cured rather easily.
- Lack of physical activity
With the increasing use of computers in their different forms, people have become unbelievably lazy and physically inactive. Simple outdoor activities like playing sports have been replaced by long gaming sessions and hours of internet browsing which is creating a generation who is extremely tech savvy but physically inactive.
- Poor posture causes body-ache
While using the computer for long hours we care little about our posture and end up having body ache. The poor alignment of head, neck and shoulders causes pain and also has harmful everlasting effects on our body.
- Headache, stress, depression
Using computers for long hours can cause severe headache which a lot of people complain about when they have to spend long hours working on the computer in office or at home. Our body and mind needs rest but when you are constantly using computer for abnormally long hours, the body is unable to get the needed rest.
It can also lead to stress. Since you feel the pressure to always be never out of touch from work, your personal life suffers. It can disrupt your sleep, which can have a serious impact on your overall mental health. Excessive use of computers can contribute to higher stress levels and even burnout. It can impact your memory, affect your ability to think clearly, and reduce your cognitive and learning skills.
Studies have concluded that spending long hours at a time on computer can cause serious mental illness like depression. Working on the computer often makes people feel isolate. This sense of isolation makes them end up feeling depressed.
Treatment for computer addiction
- Counseling and therapy – This may entail behavioral therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which will retrain the mind to perform different actions when it has certain thoughts. Counseling or therapy can also focus on treating underlying mental health conditions that caused the addiction such as anxiety, depression, social trauma or other conditions
- Changing interests – One method of getting past a computer addiction is to focus on new interests, especially with interests that involve physical exercise and/or exposure to the outdoors in an environment with little or no access to computers and related technologies. For instance, a computer user might take part in a new gym membership, spend time at the movies with friends or go out for a walk.
- If you have to work for more than 2 hours at a go, take a five minute break every hour to drink water, or move around a little bit. Basically stretch your body within those five minutes. This is especially important if you have to work while sitting down. This can help prevent back ache and poor posture. It also ensures blood circulation.
- If your routine includes working with a computer throughout the day, ensure that simple workout routines are incorporated into your schedule.
- Try to have a fruit or fruits by your side while working.
- Ensure that your screen is not too bright. Also use a quality display of sufficient size. Avoid glare and blink a lot.
- If the excessive use of computer causes you to feel isolated. Try to breathe consciously, this involves mindfulness. During your frequent breaks, seek out social interactions. If you work in the office, try to lunch with colleagues to catch up.