Beware of Letting the Machines Take Over You
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Technology is a beautiful and wondrous thing. We can shop online, do online banking, send electronic greetings to our family and friends, download music, watch movies on our laptops, dictate to our computers using voice-activated software, and read electronic books on portable handheld devices — among hundreds of other things, most of which were unavailable in our grandparents’ lifetime.
ICTs can negatively have an effect on our environment and our health. This is not only so because of its operational usage but more so because of the electronic waste generated at the end of the useful lifecycle of an ICT gadget. As one observes, the use of ICTs is growing in multiples - engrossing all aspects of our lives: at work, at home, in the air, on the water and in many shopping centres, to name but a few. ICTs have helped us solve many challenges too – such as connecting us globally, entertaining us in every possible way, and helping us to be more productive, efficient and effective.
But there can be a negative side resulting from inappropriate or overuse of technology, and that negative side can have serious and long-term consequences. To make the best out of tools of technology, teachers and parents must also recognize their downsides and how to avoid them.
Social isolation is characterized by a lack of contact with other people in normal daily living, such as, the workplace, with friends and in social activities. We isolate ourselves by walking around in our own little world, listening to our iPods or staring at the screen of the latest mobile device even when we are around other people. Studies have shown that people who are socially isolated will live shorter lives.
2. Poor Sleep Habits
Some of the negative effects of technology can be linked to the effect it has on sleep habits. We get sucked into online activities that keep us up too late and the constant stream of information can make it difficult to turn off our brains. Also, the ambient glow from screens can affect the release of melatonin, the sleep chemical. Keeping technology out of the bedroom would be a very healthy habit to acquire.
3. Increased Bullying
The use of technology has caused an increase in bullying and escalated the degree of severity. Kids are no longer able to escape their tormentors once they reach the safety of their own homes. Bullies infiltrate the security of their victims’ homes through online avenues. It is also easier to get more kids involved in bullying because people are more likely to say things online that they wouldn’t say in person. The increase in cyber-bullying has also led to an increase in teen suicides.
4. Higher Level of Deceit
On the flip side of having no privacy, people use the internet to deceive others. Most people don’t dig too deeply when doing a search on someone to check them out. By creating a few false profiles, people are able to pretend to be whomever they want. People are being “catfished” on dating sites.
Constantly being “plugged in” and “connected” causes an extra layer of stress that wasn’t present before the overuse of technology.
6. Lack of Social Bonds
Creating a lasting bond with other people requires face-to-face interaction. The more we isolate ourselves with technology the fewer bonds we will form. People are expected to do more work at home which takes away time they would be spending with their families. Also, younger people prefer communicating online versus face-to-face. When people are in the same room and communicating via text or instant messaging instead of speaking to each other, there’s a problem.
7. Constant Distraction
When we are focused on a device instead of what’s going on around us we miss a great deal. There is also a rise in the number of injuries incurred by people texting while walking.
8. Addiction & Health Issues
People are not only dependent on technology they are also addicted to it. Studies have shown that when cell phones are taken away subjects heard or felt fathom vibrations, continuously reached for phones that weren’t there and became fidgety and restless. These are some of the same withdrawal symptoms you would expect from doing drugs.
Technology causes people to suffer from mental and emotional disturbances, such as anxiety, phobias and delusions, which are all symptoms of neurosis. Being convinced you’re very ill after looking up strange diseases on WebMD or thinking you are famous because you have had a viral video are a couple of ways technology neurosis manifests itself.
Using headphones and ear buds can cause people to lose their hearing over time. Likewise, straining your eyes looking at computer and device screens can cause people to need glasses much earlier in life.
Did you know that there was an incident happened on March 2014 wherein was killed by a train after retrieving her cellphone which she dropped on the tracks. But according to her mother, she had reportedly been sitting on the tracks with her boyfriend and jumped off when the train approached. However, many people realizing that she had dropped her phone.
We’re certainly not advocating cutting out all technology, but, as with most things, moderation is best. Teachers and parents who want their students and children to experience the benefits of technology—without the negatives—should consider these ideas.
1. Monitor the use of technology. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or both, make sure you know how your kids are using technology. For parents, some mobile phone plans offer family-friendly options that let parents restrict calls or texts during parent-established times.
2. Teach responsible usage. We don’t suggest ignoring what technology can offer. Instead, inform everyone about establishing their Internet footprint, and the long-range consequences of putting inappropriate information into cyberspace. Encourage everyone to discuss tricky situations they may encounter online and help them work to a positive resolution.
3. Be familiar with technology. Keep up with what those young people are into. Vine, Snapchat, or whatever the current online trend is, stay current so you can recognize and head off any problems early on.
4. Opt for alternatives to technology-based activities. Find great ways to spend family time together without tech devices, such as by playing board games or reading good books.
Even though technology can provide us with wonderful opportunities, it can also have negative effects on our health and well-being. While you encourage your children and love ones to unplug, keep in mind that you can set a good example for them. Try to limit your own screen time and do your best to create non-tech centered activities for the entire family.
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