NEW ORLEANS (April 13, 2017) – Think back to the last time you went an entire day without using your phone, browsing the Internet on your computer, watching the television or using technology in general. We use it to stay in touch, look up information immediately, and many of us who mistakenly leave our phones feel naked without it.
But have you considered what it might be doing to your physical health and mental well-being?
A study at Baylor University found that female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their phones while males spent nearly eight hours; about 60 percent admitted they might be addicted to their phones.
And a recent article in the Huffington Post, “Sneaky ways technology is messing with your body,” by Lindsay Holmes, listed how technology is affecting the user’s body and mind, including spinal issues from staring at the phone all day, acne from having a dirty phone and eye strain from too much screen time.
In fact, almost 70 percent of U.S. adults report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain, according to a survey conducted for the Vision Council, a trade group for vision care products and services. About 60 percent of respondents say they spend at least six hours looking at screens daily.
Social psychologist Adam Alter said in an interview with The New York Times, “We have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games. Where Snapchat will boast that its youthful users open their app more than 18 times a day.”
Alia Joseph, an senior English major from U.S Virgin Islands, said,” It is a major distraction from the world. People can miss the entire day by just watching people living their lives on social media instead of putting down your phone and enjoying your life.”
Students are using technology to take online classes, perform research and connect with friends, teachers and classmates through social media and email. Classes are now asking for more research, and some teachers require their students to use social media. This has added to the tendency of college students becoming addicted to the Internet and to their cellphones.
University of Maryland researchers asked 200 students to give up all forms of media for an entire day. Results showed that after 24 hours, many participants showed signs of withdrawal, cravings and anxiety. The students also showed an inability to process without their social media and technology.
Brea Allen, a junior public health major from Plaquemine, said, “The majority of class work and general participation on media requires technology usage. A student would not know about events on campus or class work if they did not use technology.”
If you can’t remember a time when you didn’t use your phone, computer or television for at least one day, now is the time to start. It’s time to start taking a break from video games, social media and texting.
Instead of googling an answer, go to the library; instead of taking a video of you and your friends hanging out, put the phones away and enjoy the time together. Your mind and body will thank you. And who knows? Perhaps you’ll actually improve your quality of life.