Technology is killing us all slowly. I know, items such as smartphones have made our lives seemingly more convenient and have also made using the restroom a whole lot more productive; but the fact remains, modern technology has subjugated us in an unhealthy way.
Look, I understand that none of us want to go back to the days before the wheel was invented. Anyone reading this article on a smartphone isn’t likely someone who is rushing home to churn their own butter while their husband and his neighbor friend share a saw over a log. We drink some wine at night. We watch Netflix. We text and Facebook. And even though modern technology is a relatively small window in modern times, most of us hardly know any other way to live at this point.
We aren’t the first generation to have a technology evolution. The 1940’s saw the invention of the car. Television sets weren’t far behind that. Both of those modern technologies contributed in some great ways to our culture: we became more connected, more mobile, more educated and more entertained. But they also contributed to obesity, laziness, and distraction. Before iPhones came along, parents already worried about how much their children watched TV. But hardly anyone reading this article could imagine a time whereas the TV didn’t exist. And that’s likely the future of smartphones. We already can’t imagine life without them and that’s only going to become more and more the standard perception.
Technology makes it easier for people to work and learn. Things such as Facebook make keeping connections with friends and family a lot more energetic and involved. Technology saves us an abundance of time when used responsibly. We now have information at our fingertips. We can review medications before purchasing them. We can find out if a TV is listed at a cheaper price within a matter of just a few moments. We find out the carb or calorie count of a bowl of ice cream. We can track our successes in relation to our peers. We can order cars to pick us up if we’ve had one too many drinks at happy hour. We can order cars; literally, we can order a car online.
But the downsides to smartphones can’t be understated.
They’ve preoccupied us into a state of zombie. We’ve all been a restaurant and seen dinner table after dinner table with couples texting rather than talking with one another. We’ve seen the family in the mall, the kids running unchecked while mom and dad check their Facebook feeds on their iPhones. We’ve been to concerts and seen the legions of “fans” simply filming the show on their smartphones. It’s so bad, some bands have asked that people put their phones away. There have even been cases of people taking selfies and dying due to being unaware of their surroundings.
Being so preoccupied that we fail to communicate or have experiences or even endanger our lives is not healthy. Smartphones reveal their incredible addictive principles in these cases. Furthermore, we are eroding our ability to concentrate. Our brains are now trained to seek out stimulus at all times. Our brains are almost entitled to the distractions at this point. According to a recent report from the American Psychological Association this past Thursday, this addiction and dependence is causing us to be extremely stressed out. The study found that eight out of every ten Americans are unable to stop looking at their phones. They are looking at emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
And when it comes to social media, the issue grows into an even worse monster. Social media reportedly can cause depression and even eating disorders. Our enslavement to what others are doing has drastically changed our society. We no longer tolerate any type of downtime. We expect constant stimulation. We refresh our screens like rats in an experiment. During this recent election, people felt stressed and depressed over all the banter between Hillary Clinton and now President, Donald Trump. With all the news cycles zoned in on both of them and the fall out of people reacting on social media, it felt as though the world were ending. And that’s because everyone avoided the simple act of looking up. Were things really that bad? Maybe, but most likely it was all just the result of people’s perception being driven by a virtual app.
A 2015 survey found that 65 percent of all Americans are somehow tied into some sort of social media. That’s a lot of people. Smartphone addiction crosses all boudaries, including race, geography and economic. Smartphone addiction doesn’t discriminate.
What’s worse that that? Glad you asked. Smartphones are making some of obese. Americans spend a lot of time counting carbs or counting calories, depending on what camp you subscribe to, but no one seems to be tracking smartphone hours logged. Imagine if some smartphone hours were replaced with exercise?
In our children, the issue is even worse. A recent study showed that children exposed to smartphones were 43 percent more likely to be obese.
”This study would suggest that limiting children’s and adolescents’ engagement with other screen devices may be as important for health as limiting television time,” said Erica L. Kenney ofthe Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
They studied just under 25,000 children. It showed that not only are children moving less, but they are consuming more sugar.
So how can someone break the addiction?
First, you have to admit its an issue. As lame as that may sound, it is the truth. You can’t change any behavior unless you understand in honest fashion that its a problem. You can do some simple things in order to help alleviate the issue.
Start making time “smartphone free.” I understand that many of us have wives, husbands, parents and children and that part of staying connected is to make sure there are no essential emergencies that happen. Let’s be realistic, smartphones most certainly save lives. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have “smartphone free” time. You can always take a call or text that’s important. You can set your ringers and alerts to be custom so that you know if it is someone of importance.
You can also delete apps you don’t really need such as Facebook. Maybe a new rule to just access Facebook from your laptop could help bring some health and happiness to you.
Another good tip is to be more active. If you are doing Yoga, taking boxing class or knitting a shirt, accessing your smartphone is pretty difficult. The key with all of this is awareness that no one, including yourself, is beyond the addictive grasp of these devices.