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One Relationship You May Need To Check Twice-- Your Health and Technology

Updated on May 5, 2020
Erin C Day profile image

Erin writes for a number of blogs on various health, nutrition, and wellness topics.

Photo by Gilles Lambert on Unsplash
Photo by Gilles Lambert on Unsplash

I have often heard of people doing a social media cleanse or technology fast in order to improve their mental health and day-to-day life. There may be some benefit to doing so, but using your phone or computer may not be all that bad at times.

Every person’s use of technology is different. One person may check their Facebook page every hour, while another may check it once a week. No matter what your habits are, like everything else, there are both positive and negative sides to technology.

The Negative Effects

According to Healthline, excessive use of technology can affect various aspects of our health. It can cause:

  • Digital eye strain

  • Musculoskeletal problems

  • Sleep problems

  • Emotional problems

These problems can appear after prolonged use of technology, so it is crucial to exercise restraint if needed. If you have to use technology often for work, try investing in a pair of blue light filtering glasses or a posture correcting device.

Blue light glasses filter blue light that comes from screens. “Blue-screen/blue-light glasses feature tinted lenses with anti-glare protection,” says For Eyes. “These lenses limit your exposure to blue light, which is found in your cell phone, certain light bulbs, and even sunshine. Blue light is a high-energy light that our eyes are sensitive to. It can damage your retina, which may lead to blindness.” A good investment if you are often looking at screens.

If you don’t feel like your usual self lately or just more overall lethargic, the reason could lie in your technological habits. Digital Responsibility provides more specifics that can occur by using technology too much:

  • Distraction caused by technology

  • Expectation of instant gratification

  • Narcissism

  • Cognitive losses

  • Deficits in social skills

  • Sense of isolation

  • Depression

Pretty scary if you ask me. Though, now that I know about them, I can definitely recognize having some of these symptoms in part due to my phone or computer usage.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash


Digital Responsibility provides some solutions you can implement in an effort to prevent yourself from experiencing these negative effects such as taking breaks, analyzing your motivations, giving your space an ergonomic makeover, and turning off all lights and screens when you go to sleep.

Healthline also suggests you cut back on screen time by deleting unessential apps, designating a limited amount of time to use your devices, turning some screen time into physical activity time, removing electronic devices from the bedroom, charging devices in a separate room, making mealtime gadget-free time, and prioritizing real-world relationships over online relationships.

I plan to follow these guidelines myself and make it the norm in my own, future home. Kids nowadays may be exposed to technology much sooner than I was, so it is important to start right from the get-go.

Technology and Children

Children are particularly at risk of experiencing the harmful side effects of technology use.

According to Healthline, research has linked too much screen time or low-quality screen time to:

  • Behavioral problems

  • Less time for play

  • Loss of social skills

  • Obesity

  • Sleep problems

  • ADHD

Fortunately, parents don’t have to tackle this issue blindly. The American Academy of Pediatrics has put out recommended screen times based on age. There are other resources parents can turn to find out ways to limit technology use too.

Parents can:

  • Limit their kids’ screen time, allowing it only at certain times of the day

  • Review the programs, games, and apps

  • Play games and explore technology with their kids

  • Take advantage of parental controls

  • Make sure that children have regular, unstructured, tech-free playtime.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

The Positive

A major benefit of technology is how it can assist us in trying to better our health. For example, apps can make it easier to track things like heart rate, sleep, distance traveled, steps, and other physical activity. My Fitbit even has a “relax” function, helping me take a break and just breathe.

USF Health says that even though technology can encourage us to be lazy, it still provides many tools and “positive opportunities for the long-term improvement of our health.”

Technology also makes it possible for things like virtual doctor visits, online education, research, and communication with others.

West Bend Cares claims that, for children, technology can enhance learning, foster problem-solving skills, and develop future leaders.

Basically, it’s all about how you use technology and how much of it you use. You can use it to better yourself or not.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash
Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

What's Important

Technology can both help us or do the opposite. What’s important is making sure your use of it isn’t excessive in order to prevent yourself from developing an addiction to it. It is when we use technology too much that it begins to affect us negatively.

Technology is a part of daily life, and there is no need to change that. All we need to do is be mindful of our technology use. By being aware of our current technology habits, we can check ourselves and adjust if necessary. Knowing technology’s effects can even inform you of a possible reason why you’ve been experiencing a certain symptom and how you can go about changing that.

© 2020 Erin Day


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