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The invention of computer and cell phone has surely changed the world for us by making it easier to share information, to work conveniently at our home and of course to have fun. Though, they are giving us everything at the click of a fingertip, they can be harmful to our health. In this article, we will write about the harmful effects of gadgets on health.
A smartphone is a great way to keep your life working on track whether it's holding conferences over a call or waking up by its alarm clock. But the increased use of smartphones has been linked to mood and sleep problems as per a study  .
On the other hand, using computers or tablets for a long time causes physical damage too due to the repetitive hand movement leading to stress injuries.
Ways In Which Gadgets Pose Harmful Effects On Health
Staying awake late at night with your smartphone, laptop or tablet can cause harm to your eyes and give you sleepless nights. The radiation which emits from the gadgets disrupts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin  ,  . A study has shown how electronic media causes sleep disturbances at night among adolescents  .
Obesity and the use of gadgets are directly associated. Sleep deprivation among adolescents and young adults can make them obese, says a study  . If you aren't sleeping at the right time during the night, the sleep hormone melatonin and the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin get altered which affects your appetite and lets you consume excess high-calorie foods. This increases the risk of belly fat.
3. Brain impairment
Individuals who use multiple screens at the same time are more likely to have a shorter attention span of only eight seconds wherein, before the advent of smartphones the human attention span was 12 seconds. In addition to it, media multi-tasking changes the physical structure of your brain leading to low cognitive function, according to a research study  .
Also, reading from your screens rather than books impairs your brain and lowers your focus and concentration as told by researchers from Dartmouth College. They found that individuals who use gadgets like smartphone, laptops and tablets for reading purposes focus more on concrete details rather can interpreting information abstractly  .
4. Computer vision syndrome
Our eyes are not used to staring constantly at a point for hours on end. Once you are in front of a computer monitor your eyes will start feeling irritated, tired, and you may experience blurred vision, redness and eye strain. This is called computer vision syndrome  ,  . Though this isn't a permanent condition, you can protect your eyes by wearing anti-glare glasses.
5. Repetitive stress injuries
Once you are in front of a computer screen there is constant hand movement over the mouse or keyboard. This can irritate the tendons and cause swelling in the nerves and gradually this could give rise to pain in the shoulder, forearm or hand. But, repetitive stress injury (RSI) affects your whole body. As the cells are injured, they release substances called cytokines that travel in the bloodstream which can be toxic to nerve cells  .
6. Tech neck
If you are constantly looking down on your tablet, phone or laptop screen it can lead to neck pain. Because your head is tilted down in a head-forward posture for a long period of time causing muscle strain in the neck. This ailment is commonly known as tech neck or text neck  . If it's not taken care of, it might cause tension in the shoulder muscles and cause a headache as well.
7. Road accidents
Driving with your phone in your hand or crossing the road while speaking over the phone can put your life at risk. According to a study published in the Journal of Community Health, it has been seen that around 21,760 pedestrians at five busy intersections in Manhattan and around half of these people crossing the road were wearing headphones, looking into their electronic device and talking on the phone  .
8. Anxiety and depression
Your phone can put you at a higher risk of anxiety and depression. Individuals are more likely to withdraw themselves from healthier conversations and interacting socially and are more likely to become hypersensitive to what's being posted on the internet  . Some individuals also experience intense anxiety when they are separated from their phones. This compulsive or excessive use of smartphones increases the risk of anxiety and depression which can often lead to suicide  .
9. Loss of hearing and blindness
Plugging your headphones the whole day can increase the risk of hearing loss  . They can damage your ears if you hear music beyond the permissible limit of volume. Apart from that, looking at your phone continuously at night can cause temporary blindness, especially when you are lying down on one side making you look at your phone with one eye  .
10. Cell phone elbow
Cell phone elbow, also known as cubital tunnel syndrome, occurs when there is a prolonged telephone use which may cause symptoms like aching, burning or tingling sensation in the ulnar nerve on the forearm and hand. Switching your hands while using your electronic device can help.
11. Increases illness
The incessant touching of your electronic devices allows the accumulation of germs in the device. A study conducted showed that around 92 per cent of the mobile phones had bacteria on them, 82 per cent of the hands holding it had bacteria and 16 per cent of the phones and hands contained E.coli bacteria  .
12. Brain cancer
Researchers have carried out multiple studies in humans to investigate the relationship between mobile phone use and the risk of malignant brain tumours, benign brain tumours and parotid gland tumours (tumours in the salivary glands)  . A study showed that people who spend a lot of time on their cell phone calls increased the risk of glioma (cancer of the brain)  .
Tips To Prevent The Adverse Effects Of Electronic Devices
- Deactivate the internet on tablets and phones as it will help detach you from the constant messages and you will be less dependent on it.
- Engage in other activities that will distract you from your electronic devices.
- Avoid using your phone for calls when it shows low battery as it emits more radiation.
- If your phone signal is poor, never try to send text messages or call because it sends out radiation that is twice as strong.
- Limit the usage of phone at bedtime.
- Turn off your phone's Bluetooth and PC's wireless connectivity when not in use because they expose you to electromagnetic fields.
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