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Digital Devices: Taking Over Our Lives

DigitalDeviceModern technology is genius, constantly evolving, and we are addicted to it.  Advances in technology such as smart phones, tablets, computers, and let’s not forget social networking makes us accessible 24/7. But at what cost to us women? We multitask by nature. Women’s’ brains are full of reminders, lists, analyzing anything and everything, various stresses, men, friends, family, work, social life, trying to stay fit and healthy, and the list goes on and is long.  The fact we can organize our lives across multiple devices is  helpful, but  have we become  more dependent on those little, wired, time suckers? What about our overall mental and physical health?

How did we ever function before the Smart Phone?  Have you ever gone to dinner with friends and as soon as you sit down at the table, the phones come out? The information on your phone is more valuable than the friends sitting across the table. Sure, It may be a text from the hot guy you enjoy flirting with, a hilarious post that you could not resist, the required check in at your location, or taking photos, posting them and tagging each member of the group. Whatever the case may be, are we losing the ability to interact without the aid of a technological device? We are all guilty of it. Deny it all you want.  We talk about piling all of our phones in the center of the table and whoever is the first person to reach for theirs, gets stuck with the bill. We just never do it. Maybe it is time to establish our own set of digital device rules. Dare we pledge to leave our phones in our purses when out with girls (or your guy) without documenting the event, texting someone who is not there, or checking for social updates every few minutes?

Social Media is like crack, and we are all junkies looking for our status fixes, YouTube views and jonesing for 140 characters that give us a peek into the outside world.  Are we living our lives on Facebook?  According to a recent survey published (infographic) on Mashable,, 144.6 million Americans use at least one social networking site. Women rule the top two social networks: 58% of Facebook users are women and 64% of women are Tweetaholics. Nearly 300,000 status updates  post to Facebook every minute and women are leading the way. 18% of women update their Facebook status daily compared to 11% of men. Women are also more likely to comment on posts and photos several times a day more so than men.

Aside from the idea that we are becoming socially inept regarding real life interactions, what about our health? There are many articles regarding EMF (electromagnetic frequencies) emissions linked to brain tumors, cancer, gynecological problems, birth defects and more. Is technology slowly killing us? Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, author of the New York Times bestseller Fat Flush Plan, explores the various ways our bodies are affected and how we can protect ourselves from these EMFs.  According to Dr. Gittlemen, there are magic foods to help us fight against unwanted EMFs. A couple of blueberries a day will keep the EMFs away. They are high in antioxidants that are very important for us. Asparagus and olive oil are also high in glutathione, which is very important in protecting against EMF exposure and protecting us from the free radicals and cellular damage.

In addition to EMFs, eye issues, back pain, and headaches are common when spending large amounts of time on digital devices. Have you ever typed a message on your tablet or smart phone, looked up and your vision is blurry and you need time to adjust? Your eyesight changes, but digital devices add a whole new layer to eyestrain called digital eyestrain.  According to the Vision Council, staring at digital media devices may cause dry eyes, blurred vision, irritation; eye fatigue, headaches and back pain and all are attributed to eyestrain. It has become a bigger issue for eye health. The good news is that is not permanent. However, as our reliance on digital devices increases, we must be mindful of our usage and take steps to relax and refresh our eyes to reduce eyestrain.

Some helpful tips:

Follow the 20/20/20 rule:

To avoid fatigue and digital eye strain symptoms, eye doctors recommend the “20/20/20 rule.” Every 20 minutes, stop and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Ensure proper lighting: 

Poor lighting often causes eyestrain. Keep bright lights overhead to a minimum and position a desk lamp to shine on your desk, not at you. Position the computer screen in a way that reduces reflections and glare from windows or overhead lights.

Keep a working distance

The closer the eyes are to the object they’re looking at, the harder the eyes have to work. A good rule is to apply the Harmon Distance (the distance between the elbow and first knuckle) as a guide. If a child is holding video games and digital devices closer than their Harmon Distance, let their eye doctor know.

Go outside

Not only does outdoor play feel good but also research shows that it helps prevent the development of nearsightedness. Just remember to wear your snazzy, designer shades.

Monitor usage

Set time limits on the amount of “screen time” you and your children will have each day. Children under two years old should have no screen time and children over two years should spend less than two hours per day. If older children need to use the computer and e-readers for homework, make sure they first give their eyes a rest after school by playing outside or engaging in other non-digital activities.

 Get checked

An eye exam is usually painless. It’s important you have the best vision possible when using digital devices. This starts with a comprehensive examination by an eye doctor, who may prescribe corrective lenses or glasses specially designed for digital screens. Plus it gives you an excuse to buy trendy rims. To find an eye care specialist near you, or to learn more about combating computer vision syndrome, visit http://www.vsp.com.

All in all, although it’s hard to do, limiting our addictive digital media device usage is a good idea not only for your relationships but your overall health.

“Style used to be an interaction between the human soul and tools that were limiting. In the digital era, it will have to come from the soul alone.” – Jaron Lanier

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