The Bent-Neck Generation | The dark side of Technology
“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master” – Christian Lous Lange
Norwegian diplomat made the above statement in his Nobel peace prize acceptance speech in 1921. This statement was meant to describe how technology has become a useful aid for humans but he also warned that it could evolve and become an uncontrollable entity. Who would have thought that the statement will hold its importance the most after almost a century?
People today use technology more than ever. Technology is omnipresent; it’s everywhere. Wherever we go, whatever we do we are surrounded by it. However, there is a point where people are getting overtaken by technology. People are becoming more and more dependent on it to the point where it is now becoming unhealthy and is posing a great threat to the physical and mental health of people. Today one of the major global issues includes the over-dependence on technology and the negative consequences of it. But the people most affected by it are the young generation i.e. the millennials and the generation Z.
The evils of being addicted to the internet and our mobile screens are not inconspicuous. Everyone knows about it. On a regular basis, we come across various seminars, debates, articles, essays and forums which emphasizes the harm growing technology is doing to us. But while everyone knows about it very few really understand the seriousness of it. And even if they do understand they bring little to nothing change in their lifestyle in order to prevent it.
Generation Z was the first to have internet technology readily available at a young age. Whereas the millennials interacted with the technology like no other generation before them. They exploited the internet and the technology given to them like no other generation before and used it to its full potential for their personal benefits as well as for the advancement of society. So it is but natural that they are the ones that are facing the most negative consequences.
The social impact
One of the major impacts that the internet has brought in our lives is that it has made it easier for us to connect with anyone in the world. It has made the world a global village. With the advent of social media platforms, people can now interact with anyone in the world. This has made our world a small space where meeting new people, making new friends and sharing of thoughts and ideas has become very easy. But how exactly has it impacted our social skills? Talking via a text is the most preferred form of interaction these days. But why? Teens and adults are immersed in their technology devices oblivious to the world around them. It won’t be wrong to say that texting behind a screen where the person you are talking can neither see nor hear your voice is relatively much easy compared to when you interact with someone face to face. This is because face to face conversation includes both verbal and non-verbal communication. The tone of the speaker, the facial expressions, body language, maintaining eye contact as well as the posture and space between the speakers these all are to be taken care of when involved in face to face conversation. These all indicate the emotional intelligence of a person. With the lack of face to face interactions, people these days are losing their ability to communicate effectively. They often feel anxiety when in groups and are not able to voice their opinions. This prevents them from becoming successful in schools, colleges, and the workplace. Over 18% of the US population suffers from anxiety and this should definitely ring a bell.
Also, people neglect grammar and spellings while texting. This has decreased the vocabulary of people and the language of people has deteriorated drastically.
The health effects
There is no denying that an individual’s screen time has increased exponentially in the past decade. In fact, a 2014 Nielsen report found that adults log a total of about 11 hours of screen time a day. Some ways in which our health is negatively affected are
- More screen time=more weight: More screen time means a more sedentary lifestyle. This is one of the main reasons for obesity among the young generation.
- Vision issues: Looking at a screen for extended periods of time can cause “computer vision syndrome.” The symptoms: strained, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.
- Chronic pain or back pain: Poor posture when using screens combined with can cause chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain.
- Poor Sleep: Studies link heavy computer and smartphone use to increased sleeping issues. The blue light from digital devices suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, keeping us from having restful sleep.
- Impaired cognitive function: Cognitive imaging studies have found that spending too much screen time will lead to less efficient information processing.
- An early death: A 2011 study of 4500 adults showed that lots of screen time raised the likelihood of death by up to 52% while being a good exerciser only lowered that by about 4%. So it’s not just the sedentary lifestyle; it’s something about screen viewing itself that causes our bodies to work less well.
The text neck
The angle at which you hold your head when using your cell phone could affect the cervical spine and result in a condition known as ‘text neck’. This is according to a study by New York-based back surgeon, Dr Kenneth Hansraj. The relatively new condition, which Hansraj calls an epidemic, is commonly caused when too much pressure is placed on the spine due to bad posture, especially those positions in which we find ourselves when we use our cell phones and tablets. This is making us ‘hunchback’ generation.
People these days don’t use their brain to their full capacity. This trait can be especially seen in the school and college students who are dependent on the internet completely for doing their projects and assignments. All the information is just a click away, so they hardly need to do any work on their own. This reduces the growth of one’s brain and turns them into mere robots with little creativity and individuality.
A means to distract oneself from real problems
Apart from the above-listed issues, one more problem with people today is that many a time they use technology to distract them from the real issues and problems. The problems don’t necessarily mean those that are there in their personal life, but also the political, economic and geographical problems of their country and the world. The video games and social media serve as an excellent source of distraction which gives them temporary happiness and the dose of dopamine. And is what, in my opinion, very harmful for the community as a whole. Because closing your eyes isn’t going to solve the problems nor will it changes the situation. If at all, it makes the matter even worse. Being ignorant of global issues makes it even more difficult for the leaders of the world to solve them. At a time when the world is facing major issues such as immigration, climate change, terrorism, economic crisis, etc., there is a necessity to raise awareness about these problems and talk about them.
The list of the problems of with the bent neck generation is endless. There is a shift in the physical, mental and psychological pattern of people with the advent to technology. Many of which, cannot be listed but only be understood. Now, it would definitely be a bigoted thing to say that technology has done more bad than good. But a line has to be drawn on how much time do we give to the various devices and gadgets. Technology is a queer thing; it brings a gift in one hand and stabs in the back with other. So now we have to decide what we make of it.
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