The world has changed incredibly quickly over the past few centuries and we can be sure it will continue to do so at an exponential rate. This has many people now questioning what we are doing here and in what direction our species is heading.
So what are innovations like computers, the internet, and cell phones, among others, doing to our children? Well, they could be doing a lot more than we think, and little of it good. There is a widespread consensus in the scientific community that the radiation alone from these devices can be very debilitating to our health in the long term. We are approaching a time where we will potentially begin to see these effects surface, given the fact that the first cell phone/computer/internet/video games generation is approaching the age of thirty.
Multiple studies have revealed that cell phone radiation can cause cancer. Did you know that The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radio frequency fields (including those from cell phones) as a possible carcinogen in 2011? The dangers of cell phone use gained a lot of mainstream credibility in 2011 when the World Health Organization (WHO) admitted that cell phone radiation may cause cancer. The statement was based off of a cumulative decision made by a team of 31 scientists, from 14 different countries, after reviewing evidence that suggested this to be the case. It’s pretty startling news, especially given the fact that a child’s brain absorbs much more radiation than that of an adult.
It’s also important to note that studies have been conducted showing no link between cell-phones and cancer, but none of these (or those on the opposing side) have been long term, since cell phone usage is fairly recent, too recent to know of any potential harmful consequences.
Another problem is addiction. In China, for example, teenagers are becoming hooked on electronic screens. Whether it be with their phone, computer, or video games, many young people are spending countless hours in front of a screen without bothering to eat or sleep, sometimes even withholding their urge to use the bathroom.
According to a blog report published by the New York Times, “many have come to view the real world as fake.”
In China, this phenomenon is actually considered a clinical disorder, and as a result a number of rehabilitation centres have been established where young people addicted to screens are completely isolated from all media. Although the success of these treatment centres is still unknown, it paints a dark picture of the technological age in which we live, and does not seem to bode well for our future.
Studies in China show that people who spend more than 6 hours on the internet for something other than work or study are likely to become addicted. Below is a trailer for the documentary “Web Junkies,” shedding light on this troubling aspect of modern life:
It’s not just China, this type of thing is seen all around the world:
“While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of ‘live’ action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.”
As we continue to move forward, this type of addiction and behaviour becomes more disturbing. The power that some multinational corporations have, alongside their clever marketing tactics – basically making whatever product or idea they choose to be desirable to the human mind – is worrisome. A few years ago, the American Academy of Paediatrics found that the average 8-10 year old spends almost eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children/teenagers spend even more, upwards of up to 11 hours.
A study conducted by the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC), which included over 20,000 children/teens between grades 3 and 12, concluded that approximately 20% of grade 3 students already owned a cell phone. The numbers steadily rose from that point forward to approximately 25% in grade 4, 39% in grade 5, and 83% in middle school.
Think about that for a second, is this not disturbing? What is happening here and why is it happening? Cellphones, computers, and tablets are slowly taking over our lives, and while the majority of us remain engaged with these technologies, our world continues to suffer in various ways.
It’s almost as if we are made not to care, made to be distracted; apart from the 9-5 grind, we are occupied by our electronics, sports, entertainment, and more. We have become a species that has neglected our home. Humans need Earth, but the Earth does not need humans. Thankfully, more and more people are starting to wake up, more people are starting to care, and this has had a very positive impact. But we still have a long way to go, and concerns like the ones presented in this article are one of many we need to consider.