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Tyler Pennington

Rogers B4
Writing 1010
Popular Technology and Health
Technology has been used throughout the world since the invention of basic machines
like wheels and pulleys. The gadgets today make information and ideas extremely accessible.
Social networks, video games, videos, music, and more on the internet make life for us much
different than lives in the past generations. However, like with anything in life, there are positive
consequences and there are negative consequences. Due to the popular technology that seems to
consume the average Americans life, some times there are negative results whenever a screen
replaces human interaction. The extreme use of popular technology such as cell phones,
computers, the internet, and social media invites a health risk on many levels that far outweighs
the good that can come from them. Not only is ones physical health affected, but their emotional
and mental health as well.
The widespread use of personal computers and jobs or careers involving large amounts of
time sitting in front of a computer screen has revealed many physical health problems. One
problem people experience is called computer vision syndrome which is an eye strain due to
being very close to a screen for an extended period of time. The close proximity of a computer
screen can also cause light sensitivity, dry eye, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue, and
headache (Wedner and Geehr, 2014). Many people can also experience hearing loss or hearing
problems due to poorly fitted ear buds, attending loud concerts, or shooting guns for practice.
Teens face this problem especially because of the use of music playing devices. Often times
teens turn up their music too loud in order to drown out other disrupting noises. There have been

a few cases when people that text on their cell phones a lot have complained about sore wrists or
thumbs. Although, some experts do not entirely believe the pain is because of texting (Wedner
and Geehr, 2014 ). Studied have also shown that those who sit either in front of a computer of a
television regularly for long periods of time are more likely to die earlier in life (Wedner and
Geehr, 2014). This does not matter if one is fat, thin, or works out for 30 minutes daily.
Another risk that people can face from the substantial use of popular technology is
damage to their emotional health. Teens are facing emotional damage by the actions they pursue
every day. Some teens stay up late at night texting or using social media which takes away from
the 9 hours of sleep that is necessary to be able to focus and be resilient in social issues at school
(Wedner and Geehr, 2012). The ability to make important decisions in life is an important
developmental stage in an adolescents life. With the ease of communication via cell phones,
many teens are more likely to call their parents to get help with a decision that must be made.
They are not able to think as critically because they rely on their parents. Many teens experience
the fear of missing out on the lives of their peers through social media (Wedner and Geehr,
2012). For this reason, teens are not experiencing any alone-time which allows for personal
emotional evaluation.
Overall, there are many more ways in which common technology can hinder the mental
health of an individual. Studies have shown that extensive use of technology can be linked to
stress, sleep problems, and depression in young adults (Volpi, 2012). The artificial light that
comes from our televisions, computer screens, and cell phone screens affect the chemicals in our
brains that are activated in a dark environment to bring on sleep. Not only can this cause fatigue
from lack of sleep, but the circadian rhythms that control the human body can be altered. Today

the average person takes in three times the amount of information every day that the average
person did 50 years ago. The internet allows us to look up just about anything imaginable.
Technology is inhibiting our ability to remember important information, because we know it is
easily accessible later on from the internet (Volpi, 2012). Decreases in job performance can also
be attributed to technology like music. For example, a woman at work listening to music as she
is taking notes on a meeting might have a hard time taking quality notes because her complete
attention is not on the notes.
Face-to-face interaction is also a very important part of ones mental health. Sitting
behind a computer screen and typing a message to someone is much different that talking
together somewhere. Often on social networks there is cyber bullying. Usually teens and young
adults are the targets of cyber bullying. Low self-esteem can often come from cyber bullying to
someone who is not emotionally comfortable with themselves (Simpson, 2013). Another
problem that adolescents can face online is the lack of remembrance that the things they say
online are affecting real relationships with people (Simpson, 2013). Face-to-face conversations
are the best ways to resolve a problem that one may be having with another.
Within the psychological community there has been talk of the fact that Internet Use
Disorder (IUD) might be added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health
Disorders (DSM-V). This means that addiction to the internet is perhaps being acknowledged as
a mental disease now (Walton, 2012). Symptoms of IUD would include a preoccupation with the
internet, withdrawal symptoms, tolerance, loss of interests, unsuccessful attempts to quit, and the
use of the internet to escape a certain mood (Walton, 2012). The brain of individuals that
experience IUD are physically different. Interestingly, some of the changes in the brain of those

addicted to the internet are present in cocaine, heroine, special K, and other substances. Those
experiencing Internet Use Disorder must use methods to manage the time they spend on the
Although popular technology has many negative affects on the lives of those who use it
too much, it can also benefit those who use it wisely. There are many resources online for people
to find out about health problems or social problems. The internet makes information easy to
access. For those that are shy or socially shunned, the forums, blogs, and networking websites
are great ways for them to connect to people with similar interests. A feeling of belonging can
come to those who share similar interests with others, even if it is online (Conville, 2014).
Studies have also shown that in old people, using the internet has helped slow down dementia
and helped the brain to not degenerate as quickly (Conville, 2014). The networking capabilities
of modern technology also allow elderly people to connect with busy family members and
people from their past.
The health risks associated with intensive use of popular technology outweigh the
positive consequences involved. Too often a screen is replacing the day-to-day interaction that is
necessary for good mental health. The overuse of technology affects not only the physical health
of a person, but the emotional health and mental health as well. In order to maintain a balance in
life regarding technology, one should acknowledge the effects it has in their life. Many people
are unintentionally shortening their lifespan and missing out on truly positive interactions that
can take place with other people around them.

Works Cited
Alice C. Walton. Internet Addiction: The New Mental Health Disorder? Forbes. N.p., 2 Oct.
2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2014 .

David Volpi. Heavy Technology Use Linked to Fatigue, Stress and Depression in Young
Adults. Huffington Post. N.p., 2 Aug. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2014 .

Diane Wedner, and Edward C. Geehr. The Real Effects of Technology on Your Health.
LifeScript. N.p., 5 Mar. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014 . <www.lifescript.com/well-being/

Kelley Simpson. Is Overuse of Technology Affecting Mental Health? University of New

Hampshire Healthy UNH. N.p., 13 May 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2014 . <www.unh.edu/

Nicola Conville. Whats Technology Doing To Our Health. Body and Soul. N.p., n.d. Web. 20
Nov. 2014 . <www.bodyandsoul.com.au/sex+relationships/wellbeing/whats+technology

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Mental Health of Children
Impacted by Internet, Media and Technology. RANZCP. N.p., 26 Mar. 2012. Web. 16
Nov. 2014 . <https://www.ranzcp.org/News-policy/Media-Centre/Media-Archive/2012/