Progress comes with a price.
And when it comes to new technology, our bodies are paying it.
While this era of instant information and constant interaction has its benefits, it doesn't do much for us physically — bodies were made for hunting and gathering, not typing and swiping.
You may not realize it when you’re firing off a message to a friend, but the posture you use while texting could put you at risk of injuring your spine or coming down with a case of “text neck.” The well-documented condition can cause a chronic injury over time, but doctors say it can be avoided by keeping your phone at eye level during use.
Absurd? Yep. Something your grandpa would laugh at? Sure. Legit? Kinda-sorta-maybe.
With that in mind, here’s a look at four other tech-induced medical conditions that could be affecting you.
Computer Vision Syndrome
If you look at a computer screen for more than three hours a day, you are at risk for CVS. The syndrome, which occurs because our eyes blink less and have trouble focusing on the soft edges of pixelated characters when we stare at computer screens, can cause blurred or double vision and burning, itching, dryness and redness in the eyes.
Feeling the need to constantly check your phone for messages, updates and alerts can cause you a great deal of anxiety and even leads some people to experience “phantom vibrations” (feeling your phone vibrate when it hasn’t). The easiest way to deal with this issue is simple: turn off your phone.
During a study, researchers placed semen samples under wifi-connected laptops to see if the electromagnetic radiation would have any effect. After four hours, the wireless had killed a quarter of the sperm cells. Prognosis: keep your laptop off your actual lap and you'll be good.
Virtually connecting with “friends” through brief, digital interactions is convenient, but it also comes with consequences, at least according to synaptic pharmacology professor Lady Greenfield. During a speech at the House of Lords, she warned that social networking sites "are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance. As a consequence, the mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity.” Ouch.