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Electronic Devices & Your Well-being

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Digital Damage is real. Sounds kinda scary? It should. Body. Mind. Soul.

In the last several years, many studies involving the regular use of communication devices such as cell phones have been conducted to verify their impact on health. While some definitive results have been achieved, it is difficult to know the effect those results actually have on the well-being of individuals.

Numerous studies have been conducted showing that the low levels of electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and other broadcasting devices have a direct impact on the molecules of the body.

The radio waves and microwaves emitted by these devices cause increased oxidation in certain enzymes, marking an increase in overall oxidation levels in the body. It is still unclear however just how much this increased oxidation actually harms the body, if at all.

Oxidation is a regular part of life, but increased levels of oxidation over time can damage cells and possibly even lead to cancer. Therefore, there is at least some reason to be wary of the potential damages.

There have been a few studies that have shown strong evidence that those foods and substances high in antioxidants can prevent a large portion of radiation-induced oxidation. Substances such as gingko biloba and bee propolis are good examples (Ilhan et al. 2004) (Ozguner et al. 2005).

A more concrete and perhaps even more dangerous potential threat of improper technology use is the psychological effect it can have.

While many studies have been done on the mental and social impact of technology, a few particular studies stand out from the pack. A study done by Andrew Przybylski at Essex University demonstrated that even the mere presence of a cell phone during an in person conversation can decrease the mental and emotional effectiveness of the interaction via decreased bonding and decreased attentiveness (AK Przybylski, 2013).

While this may not have a large impact in situations such as a business conference or other group settings, it can have potentially disastrous consequences when it comes to establishing and maintaining personal relationships.

The second study, done by Sara Thomeé and a few others, shows how many young adults suffered increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression due to increased cell phone usage (Thomeé et al. 2011). There is no firm mechanism for the cause has yet to be established, but there are several likely candidates. One possible cause of technology related stress is the sense of constant inadequacy targeted at one's self and their life circumstances.

As technology advances, it becomes easier to keep an eye on the progress of your neighbor, and also to publicize the best about yourself. Sites like Facebook and twitter are loaded with photo-shopped pictures of friends and acquaintances looking beautiful and having the time of their life. As a result, this often leads individuals to compare themselves to others, and the result is increased dissatisfaction with their own life.

Another way technology impacts psychological health is by having a constant tether to the stresses of life. Reminders and distractions that can become overwhelming.

A more tangible reason for increased stress levels are continual the distractions allowed by devices that don't allow a person to focus on one task long enough to finish it, and so they are constantly having to find their place and in effect start over again. This causes mental confusion, decreased productivity, and increased feeling of perceived stress as the mind is bombarded by multiple threats simultaneously, instead of being able to focus on one at a time.

The adverse effects observed by this study varied depending on individual use and perception of technology, but the overall results show that the issue is big enough to merit attention to how a person approaches the use of their technology.