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Mindful : April 2018
Tech Yourself, Don’t Wreck Yourself Our use of personal technologies may bring up health concerns. But tech isn’t inherently good or bad—it’s often the unconscious choices we make that get us into trouble. Once upon a time, technology served to increase human efficiency and accuracy. Now, between everything we have to attend to on our devices and the countless ways they grab attention, it sometimes feels like our lives aren’t enhanced as much as unsettled by personal devices. When we let technology run rampant, our mental and physical health may suffer. The Tech Effect It starts with child development. Studies show that under-monitored screen time potentially disrupts attention, behavior, lang uage, and aca- demics. For teens and adults, smartphones ping and buzz all day and night. Research suggests that being reachable 24/7 escalates stress, inter- rupts social interaction, and impacts productivity. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mark Bertin, MD, is a developmental pediatrician and author of Mindful Parenting for ADHD. One study showed the mere presence of phones visible on the table disrupts conversation. Social media, for all its potential benefits, has been linked to decreased well-being, increased depression, and escalated jealousy. The ongoing study Monitoring the Future of Teens showed that teens spending more time on screens are more likely to be unhappy than those spending less. Even Facebook and Apple have conceded social media affects at least some people for the worse. When it comes to physical health, studies show teenagers today have become as sedentary as the average 60-year-old. Increased screen time has been linked to obesity, using a device (or television) near bedtime to poor sleep. One study correlated increased screen hours with odds of dying young. Strange as that seems, it’s → WE CAN ELECT TO REMAIN AVAILABLE FOR WHAT’S URGENT, CONNECT WITH FRIENDS, ENTERTAIN OURSELVES ... AND VALUE DISCONNECTING FOR A BIT. By Mark Ber tin • Illustrations by Isabel Espanol Explore a mindful- ness practice for building awareness with our scrolling habits on social media at mindful. org/FOMO 26 mindful April 2018 LIVING | mindful md