March 21, 2008 3:28am CST
I just recently read this column and i found it interesting to share. Here are seven ways technology and the high-tech lifestyle may be hurting you. 1. Computer Vision Syndrome The human eye is not adapted for staring at a single point in space for hours on end. If you log significant time in front of a computer monitor, you've probably experienced computer vision syndrome: eyestrain, tired eyes, irritation, redness, blurred vision, and double vision. Luckily, this isn't a permanent condition; but persistent strain can open the door to infection. 2. Insomnia Working into the evening face-to-face with an illuminated monitor can play havoc with your internal clock. Replace work with exciting stuff like video games after dark, and you have an even more potent recipe for a sleepless night. One study showed that playing a game involving shooting suppressed levels of melatonin, the hormone that's involved in regulating cycles of sleep and waking. Chilling in front of the TV is no better. Another study showed that adolescents who watched three or more hours of television per day were at a significantly elevated risk for frequent sleep problems by early adulthood. 3. Repetitive Stress Injuries The constant tiny movements needed to maneuver a mouse or type on a keyboard can irritate tendons; swelling can press on nerves. As little as a half hour a day of computer mouse use could put you at risk for pain in your shoulder, forearm, or hand. 4. Obesity There's a much more direct relationship between obesity and a digital lifestyle. It comes from spending too much time sitting on your rear. It's not late-breaking news that Americans are getting fatter and that kids are packing on extra pounds at a younger age. The hours per day Americans spend glued to the tube has been trending steadily upward, according to the Nielsen Co., with households leaving the set on for an average of eight hours and 14 minutes per day during the 2006-2007 season. 5. Hearing Damage Even when we're out and about, we take our electronics with us, often in the form of iPods or other digital music players. It's nice to be insulated from the hurly-burly of modern life, but listening to music through headphones can increase the risk of hearing loss. 6. Risk of Life and Limb Chatting on your cell phone makes you drive like you're drunk, says David Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah and an expert on driver distraction. Using a driving simulator, he put people with a blood alcohol level of .08 behind the wheel, and then tested them sober but using a cell phone a few days later. 7. Office-Related Asthma Your sleek, high-tech office may be a source of indoor air pollution. Some models of laser printers shoot out invisible particles into the air as they chug away. These ultra-fine particles can lodge deep in your lungs. Not every printer is a health hazard. In one study of 62 printers, 40% tested emitted particles. But only 17 printers were high-particle emitters.