Do you find yourself endlessly checking email and social apps? Do you have these accounts on all your devices? People routinely are using multiple devices simultaneously – and there are many! One’s smartphone, Apple watch, tablet, laptop, desktop and tv keep one connected at all times.  In a technology driven world, it may become necessary to set boundaries to manage use so one doesn’t lose out on ‘real life’ experiences and develop very real negative side effects of technology.

Granted, technology has advanced our lives in so many ways and this affords so many benefits. Not too long ago, our communications were so limited. Homes had a landline phone, equipped with a rotary dial and mounted on the wall! One number per household and if you were lucky, your phone had an extra long cord so if you needed some privacy, you could stretch it to reach the laundry room or hall closet. These were the days of electric typewriters! When you made an error on your paper, you needed to hit the ‘correction key’ to apply white ink over your mistake.

We are so fortunate to have the advances of today! The internet has provided a great wealth of information at our fingertips and technology has simplified so many tasks of daily life. Navigating the world is as easy as a few clicks. Communication has never been easier – texts, video calls, zoom conferences…there are a myriad of choices for instant connection.

But despite the benefits, the use of technology does have a downside – to your health. The use of personal devices can lead to poor posture and repetitive stress injuries that cause back pain, neck pain, arm pain, wrist pain and trigger thumb. Headaches are on the rise and digital eyestrain is real. Physiologically, studies have shown that the extensive use of technology can affect memory, attention span and sleep cycles. The constant barrage of information can actually re-wire the way our brains work and can have negative effects on our mental well-being. Many studies link anxiety and severe depression. FOMO (fear of missing out) is defined by The New York Times as “the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media.” Social sites are filled with posts of fabulous parties, amazing travel check-ins and photo-shopped pictures of perfect people who seem to be living enviable lives.  This can lead to depression for those left feeling that they do not measure up.

If you are struggling with negative side effects of technology, try cutting back on your screen time. If you find that social apps are a constant interruption to your daily performance, you may need to clear your devices of non-essential apps for a while to keep you from constantly checking them for updates. Break the habit. Make a point to prioritize real-world, in-person communication over online interactions. Be sure to engage in physical activity every day. Make time for ‘real life’ in your every day!