This is a guest post by Ted Chong, blog manager of Digital Senior, Singapore's leading guide on tertiary education
In our technologically-dependent society, our lives are ultimately tied to our reliance on electronic products. The convenience of accessibility in many forms has made electronics an indispensable tool for basic daily tasks such as communication and entertainment.
From the iconic television to the ever popular smartphone, these former price bombs are now basic commodities that can be found in every household. As convenient and accessible as they may be, the constant use of these devices come with dire consequences. Constantly exposing oneself to high levels of EMF- electromagnetic fields and blue light emissions are but a few of these detrimental effects.
Health Hazards of Unhealthy Electronic Use
Excessive use of electronics has been scientifically proven to negatively affect a person’s overall health.
For instance, several studies have shown that too much exposure to EMF and blue lights have been known to cause long term health problems such as insomnia and eye problems.
Simple blue light emitted from the small screens of our smartphones are known to cause long term vision problems. Blue light is known to destroy retina cells, responsible for processing the intensity of both the light and color of the image presented. Once destroyed, retina cells are unable to regenerate thereby resulting to vision problems in the long run.
Another study published in the Atlantic has also revealed that cumulative exposure to EMF and blue light has contributed to something called the “unresponsive” state of mind. The research which was found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has discovered that using electronic portable devices especially before going to sleep causes biological side effects that disrupts normal sleep patterns and aggravates stress levels.
Individuals who are most and unknowingly affected by these unpleasant effects are those aged between 18-34 or what is commonly referred to as the Millenials. Most of them own a multitude of devices, from laptop, tablets to smartphones.
Establishing a Healthy Gadget Free Lifestyle
The convenience of information has that our gadgets have given us, makes it understandable why electronic devices can be so hard to put down.
Although curbing improper or excessive use of one’s gadget does not happen overnight, students can maximize their time and minimize the health impacts by following these five simple essential tips to develop healthier habits whilst using electronics.
- Establish “unplugged” times everyday
Student life is all about balancing school and play. To develop a sound schedule that allows you to fully maximize your time is to allocate a slot when no electronic devices should be used. These “unplugged” sessions helps diminish your stress levels by allowing you to fully focus on relaxing and recharging your energy instead of wasting your time and effort breaking a high score on your favorite mobile game.
You can start this particular habit by switching off the device for a few minutes each day. Once you immerse yourself in this habit you can gradually move on to picking a specific time of the day where you can fully set the gadget aside and occupy yourself with more important tasks such as studying for your next exam or sleeping.
- Engage yourself in recreational and social activities
Instead of becoming a mindless victim of your electronic device, focus your attention and energy into other productive activities. Whether it’s catching up on your favorite hobby or engaging in a new one with your friends, nothing gives a more stimulating recharge to your mind and body than by exposing yourself to new activities. Although playing around with your smartphone can be a blast, they do little to promote a healthy lifestyle. Besides suffering long term health hazards, you become less productive and more isolated from the world by simply staring at the screen. There are lots of things to do in school for you to explore, besides studying!
- Emphasize on “no gadget” zones in the home
Another healthy habit that you can try is to establish particular areas of the house where gadget use is prohibited. Certain areas of the house, especially the dining room and the bedroom, should be free of any gadgets at all times. This is to help you reconnect with the people in your home.
- Educate yourself on the risks
Excessive usage of electronic devices is undoubtedly hazardous to one’s health.
Besides promoting a sedentary lifestyle, it also affects key biological processes in the body that maintains a sound mind and body. This in turn diminishes one’s homeopathic abilities to deal well with stress. So, if you wish to fully focus your mind in passing that exam or submitting a project on time, then by all means turn off your gadgets.
- Know your limits
When it comes to developing a healthy relationship with your electronic device, one important thing you must bear in mind is your own limits. The most important asset you have is your self-discipline. Set your limits accordingly and achieving balance in your life will become intuitive.
Having a sound mind and body as well as a productive lifestyle can be achieved with discipline.You can start by planning out your day, then even weeks and months. Remember that if you want to make it big in the world, you got to get your priorities straight.
To reduce the risks of overconsumption of electronic devices, you should begin developing a healthy habits to turn off your device once in awhile. So, disconnect from the internet and start connecting with those around you today. Virtual reality, which is all the rage nowadays, is still virtual after all.
About the author
Having been a beneficiary of education, Ted believes that education has the ability to transform one’s life. He manages a blog for peer-to-peer learning at http://digitalsenior.sg/ where everyone shares their experiences during university in Singapore.