Experts weigh in on the side effects of being tech-dependant, and offer tips for gadget-life balance
Our sendentary lifestyles coupled with tech dependency, is taking its toll on our well being and even on our cognitive abilities say experts. As sports physician Dr Kannan Pugazhendi points out, “We enjoy the luxury of not moving. The sedentary lifestyle has given birth to diseases – myocardial infarction, obesity, and diabetes to name a few.”
Meanwhile, Dr Saras Bhaskar, corporate psychologist, notes that her clients have started outsourcing their memory to online accounts, GPS and calendar alerts. “Depending on these devices all the time, is a stumbling block to developing our cognitive abilities and has made us lazy,” she says.
And then there is the social networking addiction. “The need to feel special makes us check how many likes we’re getting online. One may project a more exciting version of themselves online, but people in real life will eventually figure them out. Such a person will always find it hard to engage in deeper relationships,” says Dr Vijay Nagwaswami, renowned psychiatrist, relationships consultant and author.
While popular video games like Grand Theft Auto and Counter Strike promote violence and brutality, the protagonist is portrayed as the lawbreaker. Though Dr Bhaskar is not comlpletely convinced about the repercussions, she says, “Games can be a stress-buster to let out anger. However the aggression of games should not be applied during human interaction.”
Tech addiction does lead to reduced social skills as clinical physiotherapist and professor, Sruti Lall says, “Spending hours over screens has affected children’s ability to have empathy. A man may be talking to his wife after work in the evening, but he will still be looking at his phone. The amount of time that kids and adults should be giving to building and understanding relationships is lessening.”
— Sneha Jalan
Run, breathe, eat
Dr Pugazhendi says, “Go for a run every morning. Try getting down two stops away from office and walk to work. Take out time to do 20 squats at least. Learn a sport. Yoga is also good for helping one to get sleep, which is disturbed by constant sub-conscious thoughts. And be aware of what you eat.
Keep it real
To balance the addiction of social networking, Dr Nagawami advises on spending quality time with friends outside the web. “It will help to observe friends who are more active in real life, and what their hobbies are,” says Dr Bhaskar.
On work and family time management, Dr Lal says, “Family rituals are very important.For Sunday breakfasts and outings, set rules and limitations for using smartphones.Parental supervision is required over the hours a child gets on the screen. Encourage children to play outdoors with playmates and get some fresh air.