Have you ever felt that something hasn’t really happened until you post it on Facebook or Twitter? Does a flashing red light on your BlackBerry make your heart flutter? Do you know you shouldn’t be texting and driving—but still do it? If you said yes to any of these questions then you’re not alone; you’re among the millions of people who can relate to being overwhelmed by technology.
Chill out — the next time your son or daughter comes to the dinner table with a smart phone or iPod or laptop, try putting it in the fridge during the entire meal. It won’t do any harm to the device. Then serve it as the final course, after the dessert.
It’s not a revelation to say that this country has an obesity problem. But there is mounting concern that gluttony for technology is creating what I call the “e- obesity” problem. By that I mean that our increasing appetite for gadgets and the Web has made us lazy and less active. Most days, the only parts of our bodies that are getting a great workout are our fingers and thumbs, and they are often being overworked.
First let’s look at the numbers as they apply to the young generation. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project recently found that half of American teenagers send more than fifty text messages a day and that one-third send more than one hundred a day. Every day. Add that up over a month and we’re talking easily in the thousands.
Two-thirds of the texters surveyed said they were more likely to use their cell phones to text friends than to call them. Fifty- four percent said they texted their friends once a day, but only 33 percent said they talked to their friends face to face on a daily basis (a probable harbinger of the death of “small talk”). The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that young people between the ages of eight and eighteen spend on average seven and a half hours a day using some sort of electronic device, from smart phones to digital music players to computers. In essence, they’re online for the time spent at a full- time job, which is a number that likely startled many of you, even those who keep your smart phone in plain sight during waking hours.
The role of technology in childhood and adult obesity has now been proven without a doubt. More than forty studies have been conducted on the matter, and many indicate that the availability of technology contributes to a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain in children. A Canadian study conducted in 2003 and published in the International Journal of Obesity linked seven- to eleven- year- olds’ television and computer use to a significantly increased risk of being overweight or obese. The study found that children who spent three or more hours a day using technology had a 17 percent to 44 percent higher risk of being overweight and a 10 percent to 61 percent higher risk of obesity.
- For more information about Daniel Sieberg and The Digital Diet: The 4-Step Plan to Break Your Tech Addiction and Regain Balance in Your Life visit http://www.danielsieberg.com/.
- For your own copy, visit http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Diet-4-step-addiction-balance/dp/0307887383 (print) and http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Diet-addiction-balance-ebook/dp/B004J4WM3G (Kindle)
- To discover whether your Learning Style makes you susceptible to E-obesity, have a look at your Learning Style Analysis report.