Use electronic devices with some caution

Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr. (CFA)

Too much of everything is bad; so goes a popular saying.

If many of us agree with this statement, do we also agree that uncontrolled use of technology may not be the best for us in more ways than one?

Interestingly, this cuts across all forms of technology, including television, smartphones, laptops or whatever form of technology that we interact with.

For example, findings from a number of researches  have suggested that one of the possible reasons why you may have been finding it difficult to sleep at night is because the blue light that emanates from your phone at night is not very friendly to the eyes and brain; it prevents you from sleeping easily.

This has led researchers and developers to come up with solutions such as twilight, night mode and a few others. The main goal of these solutions is to bring the brightness of your screen lower than what you can achieve with the default settings.

Yes, these solutions are good and would serve you well but it is better to regulate the use of your phone altogether.

A few weeks ago, I came across the findings of a research conducted by an American journal outfit that pointed to the fact that placing laptops on the laps was adversely affecting fertility in men.

The research was carried out on two sets of men, aged between 26 and 45, to ascertain the behaviour of the sperms taken from them.

The first set of men constantly placed their laptops on their laps when working over a period of time and the second set of equal number of men constantly placed their laptops on their desks while working over the same period of time.

The sperms of all the members of each group were placed under the microscope to observe their behaviours and the result was staggering.

Most of the sperms of each member in the group that constantly placed their laptops on their laps while working became inactive after a very short while but those taken from the men who placed their laptops on a desk or a table while working remained active for a much longer period.

The conclusion was that electromagnetic waves emitting from the laptop caused a high sperm mortality rate and DNA damages to the sperms produced by those who placed their laptops on their laps.

That research results got me thinking of shedding more light on the issue so that we can learn to use technology wisely – that is to regulate our use of technology.

I cannot, for example, understand why someone will place a very hot laptop on his laps for hours. It is an unhealthy practice but, sadly, a lot of people have already formed habits around this.

The truth is that technology has come to stay because of the resultant benefits of making life easy. However, we need to accept the truth that as good as technology is, it does have some negative effects on health.

The way forward is to ensure that we use technology properly and avoid behaviours that will affect us negatively in the long run.

We cannot say, for instance, that we will no longer eat because we may get choked if the food strays into our windpipe instead of passing through the normal route to our stomach. All we need to do to prevent choking is to observe some basic rules of eating such as not talking while eating.

Likewise, we must continue to identify the possible health issues that might arise from the use of technology and find ways of preventing them. The following are some of my personal thoughts on this issue. They are based on my personal experience as a professional exposed to the use of technology.

One possible health challenge that might arise as a result of constant use of personal computer and other devices is damaged eyesight from radiation emitting from these equipment.

What you can do to prevent this is to approach an optician to obtain a pair of eye glasses to use when working with your desktop or laptop. This prevents the rays from the screen coming directly to your eyes.

When I did this myself, my optician congratulated me. According to her, if I didn’t do it, I would have felt the impact more when I am much older.

Backaches are common due to prolonged sitting in one position when using your desktop or laptop. To prevent this, you need to take frequent breaks and avoid working for a long period without a break. Walk around and exercise your body.

The truth is that it is very easy to get engrossed and lost in your work and the temptation to work very long hours at a stretch is always there.

You need to break your tasks into small and manageable bits and also observe a sitting posture that does not curve your spinal cord. In my case, I use a tool to manage the process. This tool prompts me to take a five-minute break after every 25 minutes.

In another vein, I downloaded an advisory on the dangers of electromagnetic fields exposure and ways to reduce its effects titled “Cell Phones and Health” written by the California Department of Public Health.

It is a revealing document that should put every concerned individual on red alert especially those who place phones and other electronic devices on their bodies all day long.

By the way, the document has a general advice for children and teenagers also; they are more sensitive to radiation because their brains are still developing.

Finally, my point is simple: let’s all learn to use technology wisely.

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