We are surrounded by technology. Information attacking our senses from all angles. Helping us to go places, to do things, connect with people, check our children’s progress at school, to do our shopping, to order our lunch, to even book appointments and order medication. We want to be connected, to be involved with the world, and we want others to know what we are doing and how we are doing it. We want to make the most of the wealth of global information being carried around in our hands.
This constant stimulation cannot be good for our health and wellbeing. We are constantly ‘on’. The checking of e-mails and messages continues all day long (and night) for some people – the equivalent of working around the clock. There are those who do not get through a single meal without checking their phone. Is that really necessary? In my mind it makes us slaves to technology – rather than technology working for us. There is a fine line between wanting to be on top of everything, of responding instantly and of taking a few moments to simply think. We see the warning signs all around us – people on a beautiful train journey where the sights are simply breathtaking, but passengers are busy taking pictures of each other, or on holiday standing on a snow-covered mountain top where instead of taking in the moment and creating a memory, people are desperately trying to take a selfie. It seems to be the norm these days that unless you are actually in the picture you are taking – there is no point in taking it. We would much rather ruin the shot of a beautiful landscape or an iconic building by grinning innately down the lens, than just enjoying the view with all our senses in tune. We have forgotten to look and appreciate the simple beauty around us – at what cost? Our friends and family suffer – we sit down with them, but rather than talking to them we begin texting numerous others about where we are and what we are doing!
All this constant brain activity leads to increases in tension and stress headaches. We are so wound up with pressure that we are now having to retrain ourselves in the art of relaxing. People now book in for massage treatments and spa days in a bid to have a bit of ‘time-out’ – sometimes these are the only times when the phone is switched off.
If we thought about it logically – staring at a screen for hours on end does not help our eyes or our posture. It is so important to take a break. There was a time when we would be told to walk away from our desk, to look away from the screen, to stretch our legs by going for a drink. Nowadays we may go for a walk – but with a mobile in our hand. It is important for us to make changes so that our children are protected in the future. We need to lead by example – to show that we are in control of technology and not the other way around. There are already medical terms for conditions in youngsters where the thumb becomes weak from texting, or spine injuries from the constant bowing of the head and neck to look at the mobile screen. We are told to eat and drink in moderation – too much of a good thing can have adverse effects, it is the same with technology. Let us take back control of our time and, indeed, our lives.
Technology is a wonderful thing – but when used sensibly and effectively. Like most things – everything in moderation. Keep up to date, keep informed, but most importantly – keep healthy.