09 Being Digitally Responsible - Eddy D’Sa

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:17 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:18 AM ]
What does it mean to be "digitally responsible"? We believe that it's our responsibility to use communications technology in a way that doesn't harm others, and to be aware of the impact that technology has on our own health, the environment and society at large. We shall not dwell here on the anti-social and criminal aspects that infect various social media platforms. But communications technology can also have a large impact on users' mental and physical health. Being overly connected can cause psychological issues such as distraction, narcissism, expectation of instant gratification, and even depression. It can also have negative repercussions on physical health causing vision problems, hearing loss, and neck strain. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate these health issues. We can benefit or suffer due to our hyper-connected lives. Those who best capitalise on new technologies will be able to effectively sift through large amounts of information as quickly as possible. On the flip side, technology may make us impatient, subject to frequent distraction, and desperate for constant entertainment. An obsessive need to check for text messages, a desperate desire to constantly update your Facebook status, or a near-addiction to iPhone games are all manifestations of what is termed "iDisorder". It remains to be seen exactly how technology will affect our psyche, but some changes are already starting to become apparent - cognitive loss, deficits in social skills, a sense of isolation and depression.

Aside from its effect on our psychological and social well-being, spending a large portion of the day in front of a screen can lead to a panoply of physical health issues. Here are some examples of problems: Net Vision Syndrome is the complex of problems associated with excessive screen time, including eyestrain, blurred vision and dry eyes. Take a 20-20-20 break. The Mayo Clinic advises staring at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Spending your life plugged into your iPod may make you feel like dancing in the streets, but it can take a toll on your ears. Earbud use can cause hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The sensitive hair cells in your inner ear never grow back, once they have been damaged. According to research from Stony Brook University, School of Medicine, just one hour a day of listening to your earbuds at Level 4 could cause permanent damage. Neck Strain: When you bend your head down, the head is no longer supported by the whole system of the vertebrae, but only by the neck. This puts unnecessary strain on the neck muscles and can lead to pain, including tension headaches. Holding your cell phone between your neck and your shoulder may be a cheap hands-free option, but it also puts your neck in an unhealthy position. Even texting involves a lot of hanging your head over your phone. Do some exercises. While you're studying or working, take short breaks to do some simple movements like shoulder rolls. Sitting Too Much: Researchers in a University of South Carolina study found a 64% greater chance of heart disease mortality for men who sat 23 hours or more behind the wheel or the TV screen, compared to men who spent only 11 hours per week on those seated activities. Get up! Stand when you can. If you need to talk to a co-worker or a fellow student, why not take a short walk around the office or library? Try to form the habit of standing up for particular activities, such as talking on the phone.

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