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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Beautifully dangerous: The perils of gadget use

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By Mikaela Kristina Acido-Muega

Technology can be as useful as a sword, but can cut as deep if not used properly. 

When used properly, gadgets are a prized weapon that brings more perks than perils.  

Like gallant knights, clad in armor and on a horse, we can use our swords to face our adversaries. 

Our gadgets are like weapons. We can use them for good or get too high of ourselves and use them improperly. Sometimes, a knight may get too reckless with his sword, hurting himself and others. The same goes for gadgets. 

When school is out, many usually pass the time playing video games. And since these electronic games are within nearly everyone’s reach, many use them more often. And most people spend so much time playing video games sedentary.

Sitting or lying down is the most comfortable position for playing video games, and this can lead to obesity and other serious health issues. Excessive gadget use can affect eyesight and brain. 

The blue light can strain your eyes, especially if you hold the gadget close to your face. Recent studies show continued exposure to blue light over time can lead to damaged retinal cells. 

Gadget use can also lead to sleeplessness and restlessness. Here’s a familiar scenario: You get on a train hoping you can pass the time playing Tomb of the Mask. However, you forgot your phone in your house, and since you want to play so badly, you can’t sit still. You fidget and shake your legs, looking for something to do. 

More screen time usually leads to less face time.

Some might ask, “So I’m hooked on my gadget, but why?” When you enjoy something, be it reading a book or laughing at some memes, your body releases the feel-good hormone dopamine. It is the same hormone released when a cigarette addict smokes. 

Dopamine is released when someone hooked on technology experiences pleasure when playing video games, surfing on the Internet, watching video clips, or checking posts on social media. This is why some researchers have called gadget addiction “the new smoking.” 

Studies show social behavior, cognitive, and emotional development can also be affected by gadget abuse, to the point where one fails to acknowledge their relatives and friends in real space and time. More screen time usually leads to less face time.

Negative effects of gadget abuse on behavior also include depression, aggression, anxiety, and even paranoia when a person misplaces their gadget—73 percent of gadget users panic when they misplace their phone according to Berkeley. 

Productivity in school can likewise be affected by gadget addiction. Funny YouTube videos, for instance, are a perfect distraction. 

We write our own fairytales and if we use our swords in the wrong way, we might have a not-so-happily-ever-after ending. 

Our gadgets can be used to do a lot of good things: there are applications that can be utilized to deliver food, buy and sell goods, educate the public, and more. 

A bit of entertainment won’t hurt. Set a reasonable time limit and once your time is up, stop. It might be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of the routine, you will become more productive and successful.

The author is a student at Quezon City Science High School. 

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