Technology is an integral part of our day-to-day lives. People all over the world rely on it for things like communication, organization and employment. Not a day goes by when you don't encounter someone talking on his cell phone, tapping away on a laptop or listening to an MP3 player. While this technology is impressive, there are certain drawbacks in areas like health, public safety and education that should be addressed. Being aware of these dangers can help diminish or reverse these drawbacks.
There is no question that cell phones have become a staple of modern society. Even young children use them, much to the chagrin of their parents or teachers. A common belief is that cell phones can cause adverse effects like brain cancer. However, a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that this is not true. Regardless, there are other hazards. According to the WHO, mobile phones are a serious problem when driving, increasing reaction time between 0.5 and 1.5 seconds. This short span of time can make a world of difference when avoiding a collision. They further state drivers on a phone have trouble judging speed and staying in their lanes. Even hands-free headsets pose a distraction. The WHO concludes that drivers who talk on their cell phones are four times more likely to get in an accident.
According to the website Healthy Hearing, one-third of teenagers own an MP3 player, such as an iPod. Dr. Craig Kasper, Director of Audiology at the New York Otolaryngology Group, warns that these devices can cause ear damage if used improperly. If the volume is too high or if the individual listens for a long time, hearing damage can happen. Also, earbuds are more dangerous than regular headphones. Healthy Hearing recommends that listeners keep the volume below 70 percent and limit listening time to between 60 and 90 minutes. If you want to listen indefinitely, turn the volume down to 50 percent.
Hand-held video game consoles are very popular in the developed world. While they can be entertaining, excessive play can be detrimental. One problem is video game addiction, which can be disruptive to a person's psychological health. Other reported issues include seizures, neck pain, wrist pain and repetitive strain injury. Prolonged use also contributes to a sedentary lifestyle, resulting in obesity.
Text slang, such as "ur" instead of "you're" is commonly used through cell phone texting. However, a recent study shows that kids and teens are actually letting these obscure abbreviations seep into their normal writing. A recent study by Pew Internet in 2008 revealed that 50 percent of students use informal slang in their assignments. Furthermore, 38 percent admit they have used abbreviations in their schoolwork like "LOL", which stands for "laugh out loud". Additionally, 25 percent say that they use emoticons such as "smiley faces" in formal writing. The problem has become so apparent that some U.S. politicians are concerned that the English language and sentence structure is being twisted, negatively affecting students' learning.
- World Health Organization: Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health: Mobile Phones
- World Health Organization: World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention
- Healthy Hearing: MP3 Players: Are They Damaging Your Hearing Health? ; July 30, 2007
- BMJ: Video Games and Health; Mark Griffiths; July 16, 2005
- Pew Internet: Writing, Technology and Teens; Amanda Lenhart et al.; April 24, 2008