According to Agarwal, Singh and Hamada (445), technological usage effects can be described as the negative mental, social, physical, and environmental outcomes that a user of technology devices may have within a short or a longer duration usage of these devices. However, it should never be taken as an implication that the use of technology devices have positive effects, but rather that these devices also have negative effects that could be disastrous to the user. Thus, urgency to establish moderation in the usage of technology devices as they have a direct impact on the brain issues of the user. For instance, Briggs (1) has argued that the use of technology devices like cell phones and internet not only inhibit creativity and deep thinking but also lead to hyperlinks and overstimulation on the part of the user leading to the short-term attention. The Figure 1 presented below indicates how a simple cell phone can affect different parts on the human body.
Technological devices’ usage has numerous effects on the functionality of the brain and this becomes evident through different symptoms, both on the health and memory of the user. As observed by Agarwal, Singh, Amrita and Hamada (441), a continuous use of the technological devices such as the internet and the cell phones tend to increase brain glucose metabolism. This increases around the area especially at times when the user is actively engaging the device. Technological devices are also known to increase alpha brain waves—a symptom that there are relaxed activities in the brain even though the research in this aspect is still scanty. The three scholars note that the available information from research indicates the technological device usage prompts this phenomenon in the brain of the user.
Whereas the above effects of technology use are not isolated and any person that uses such devices for an extended period of time is exposed to them, other effects like reduced cognitive performance in the brain have been documented. However, the trend on the impact of technological devices on the attention and memory of the user are still insignificant. This is partly because the researches that were done were simple. An instance us a case where mice was used and the findings actually turned out to be positive rather than the negative as would be expected. The mice that were exposed to low amounts of radiation similar to the ones emitted by cell phones indicated a tendency to reduce Alzheimer’s disease.
Evidently, available information on how technology devices might affect the brain of the user is based on speculation. In the recent past, there is heightened effort to provide empirical evidence on the effects of technology devices on the brain issues of the user. Among the first evidences from the research include thermal effects of technology. In this case, research indicates that technology devices can elevate the body temperatures by way of emitted radiations. This, for instance, means that continued handling of technology devices such as the cell phone, which result from slight change in body temperature, could disrupt the normal functioning of the cells in the body. Notable to be affected are the testes and eyes in this regards. Additionally, non-thermal effects of technology devices include the radiofrequency energy which has a changing effect on the cell membrane’s permeability, free radical production, blood-brain barrier integrity, and cell excitability. Other non-thermal effects are inhibition of calcium ion movements, reduction in the body’s ability to respond to stress, and prevention of normal neurotransmission.
While it is acknowledged that advances in technology are one of the hallmarks of human civilization, the truth is that the use of technology devices might be doing more harm than good to humanity. Below is a list of the negative impacts on the use of technology devices which centers around the functionality of the brain, and which point to the fact that technology disrupts the natural and normal functioning of the human brain.
- Isolation: Human beings are naturally social beings. For a long time, the socialization aspect has helped to build the traditional and cultural practices that define the superiority of human beings and put them above all other animals. However, with infiltration of technology in societies, the aspect of isolation is becoming more common especially among the youth. This is characterized by an extended lack of contact with other people in the normal living setups like the place of work or in social activities. The standard practice for people who are described as technology addict is that they will even try to avoid the socializing with other people when they are put in a social group. Research indicates that social isolation leads to death of vital brain cells and results in shorter lifespan.
- Lack of social skills: people are generally known to posses certain social skills that enable their survival including proper verbal and non-verbal communication, etiquette and discipline. Technological devices have a negative impact on the acquisition of vital social skills which in effect limit the ability of a person to interact with his/her environment. The use of social media as provided through technology devices and the internet has led to a drastic reduction on how frequent people meet on a face to face basis thereby causing a lull in the brain functionalities of those who are affected. This is because such people do not anticipate meeting any challenge in their lives.
- Poor health development: use of technology devices and technology requires an individual to utilize a good duration of time behind these devices. This contributes to poor health practices like participating in body stimulating exercises. As a result, cases of poor health habits leading to conditions like obesity have been on the increase in many countries. With high infiltration of technology in homes, more people, especially the young, are spending their time in homes deeply engrossed in chats with their friends, video games while they spend less time doing energy demanding activities and exercises. This also promotes poor eating habits which contribute to the malfunctioning of the brain.
- Increased depression: the fact that people are social species and that human contact is important can be highlighted in the continued confinement in solidarity. This contributes to unhealthy practices like lack of exercise and overeating. Ultimately, there is a development of depression and a feeling of wanting to use antidepressants as a measure of escaping from depression. This situation is created by the use of technological devices and a lack of proper functioning of the brain as caused by technology.
- Change in sleeping habits: use of technological devices takes up a sizable and essential time of the person such as that for sleep. Sleep is an essential exercise for the normal functioning of the brain. When a person receives less and less time for sleep, chances are that their brain activities will also be affected in the long run. A lack of enough sleep can cause amnesia, hallucination, depression, and mental health disorder. Furthermore, a research by Agarwal, Singhand Hamada (436) indicates that the continued exposure to the ambient glow of lights from technology device screens like computers and cell phones can adversely affect the release of sleep hormones like melatonin which could affect the sleep patterns.
- Environmental pollution: the turnover rate for upgrades on technological devices is staggering as rapid changes in technological and electronics world continue to be embraced. The need to expose a large chunk of old technological devices introduces toxics in the air. With many countries lacking proper policies on e-waste management, people continue to dispose dangerous electronic products carelessly endangering their lives. In order for the brain to function optimally, the level of toxic substances in the air should be kept at a minimum and the environment preserved. However, this is rarely the case as demand for technological devices heighten and companies continue to manufacture more devices. In the meantime, there are no proper strategies to manage e-waste. It means that the air’s toxicity level will continue to increase. In turn, the result is increased mental cases.
- Increased bullying leading to suicide: most of the people who are using technological devices are children who are susceptible to cyber-bullying. Cases of children who committed suicide after being bullied on the internet are reported daily. Some children have been kidnapped and killed or tortured just from their continued presence on the internet. Because of the kind of bullying that goes on behind screens, some people who have no self-control develop suicidal ideation. Actually, some go ahead to commit suicide. This is an indication that technological devices and their use can change the normal reasoning capacity of a person replacing good ideas with bad ones like death or revenge. In short, technological devices damage the normal reasoning capacity of the brain and thereby change people’s brain into machines that respond to provocations detrimentally to themselves
- Lack of Privacy: privacy gives the brain a sense of security. People who feel that they no longer have their privacy are likely to change the way they perceive the world and the environment around them. Persistent use of technology devices like cell phones, internet, and social media strips away the sense of privacy to the person. This causes a change in their brain functionality with regard to privacy. It also contributes to the development of bad ideation like theft or intent to causing harm in the brain. For instance, people who do hacking or phishing of private information are renowned technology addicts whose brain forms ill pictures on how technology could be used to harm others or gain access to private information. In essence, technological devices contribute to increase in crime in the society.
- Distorted Sense of Reality: people who spend most of their time on the internet or using technological devices are likely to develop an inverted sense of reality as they normally use technology to escape from the reality of life. Technology gives people a distorted sense of freedom which is not applicable in the normal life. This may sometimes find its way in the normal life and thereby affect the ability of such a person to survive or fit in the social setting in which they are supposed to live. Thus, their brain changes from actual perception of reality and sees the world in a convoluted manner (Grazier, 5).
How Can Negative Impact of Technology Use be mitigated?
Technology has become an integral part of the human life and it could be unimaginable to have the modern world without the numerous technology tools around. It is true that there is limited evidence that provide information on the proper usage of technology to avoid brain damage or negative effect on the activities of the brain. However, various practices are ongoing to help people who are apparently affected through long-term loss of memory or retardation in the ability to solve problems or make sound decisions. Technology users are now being educated on the proper and acceptable practices to apply when using technology devices of whichever kind. This information is being supported by various support groups as well as initiatives from private organizations and government departments like the education ministries. Among the activities that are being lined up to assist technology addict include therapy and counseling programs. In this case, addicts are given a tremendous boost on how to control technology usage through emphasis on developing cognitive-behaviors. Physicians, counselors, and teachers all provide best step-by-step ways to combat uncontrollable technology behaviors which may be doing more harm than good to the user. The anticipation is that this kind of therapy will assist in transforming the individual perception among technological addicts towards the technology and computer use. Moreover, addressing this challenge through medically proven practices like use of therapy will contribute in imparting in people a sense of urgency when it comes to healthier practices as a means of coping with prickly emotions such as stress, anxiety or depression which are all associated with the misuse or overuse of the technology devices and technology itself (Richtel 2).
There are also group support initiatives that aim at introducing internet addicts to the new and better methods of using technology to better their lives rather than using it as a tool to promote poor brain activity and affect their overall performance and productive as members of the larger society. Groups like addicts anonymous can help those who use technology or the internet for cybersex are known to contribute to the positive and speedy recovery of people who were hitherto known as technology addicts. It is true that such people’s lives would have ended if such interventions were not put in place on time. Such groups are known to provide information in social and coping skills that are essential in enabling the addicts to understand the use of technology and technological devices.
While the treatments these therapies are those usually recommended by psychologists and physicians, the fact that technology use is still very prevalent and causes brain issues ought to worry this fraternity as to its effectiveness in controlling the detrimental usage of technology. Another issue is the learning capability of the society on the negative impact of technology on their brain performance (Andrews 1).
The technological devices effect on the brain issues is a developing field of study that could provide interesting information on how technology could best be used. Human activities are largely depended on the normal functioning of the brain. When there is an introduction of any kind of imbalance such as may be caused by the use of technology devices, the brain does not function normally. Among the identified effects of technological devices on the brain issues include depression, stress, poor health habits like overeating and poor health conditions like obesity and lack of enough sleep. These conditions have a direct effect on the overall performance and functionality of the brain both within a short and long duration of time. The ultimate negative impact of technological devices on the way in which the brain functions is that it delineates a person from the reality of life. It puts them in a convoluted life experiences that could easily entertain suicidal and criminal ideation as well as depriving the sense of private and socialism from the people. All these have effects on the way in which an individual can interact and fit in the society as would be the case when such devices were not available.
Agarwal, Allan, Singh, Amrita and Hamada, Agustin. Cell phones and male infertility: A review of recent innovations in technology and consequences. International Brazilian Journal of Urology, 37:432-454, 2011.
Andrews, Ryan. All about cell phones & health. Precision Nutrition. Web 5 Oct. 2013.
Briggs, Hellen. Web addicts have brain changes, research suggest. The BBC. Web 5 Oct. 2013. Retrieved from: website
Grazier, Kevin. Fringe science: parallel universes, white tulips, and mad scientists. New York: BenBella Books, 2013. Print.
Richtel, Matt. Attached to technology and paying a price. The New York Times. Web 5 Oct. 2013. Retrieved from: website