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Excessive use of electronic gadgets: health effects

Abstract

Mobile phones, internet, social networking sites, and texting have changed the way we see the world. There are ~6.9 billion mobile users, almost as many as people on earth. People who excessively use electronic gadgets develop musculoskeletal disorders. Repetitive strain injury is a chronic condition that develops because of repetitive, forceful, or awkward hand movements for prolonged periods leading to damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves of the neck, shoulder, forearm, and hand, which can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or impairment of motor control. Eyes, neck muscles, arm, and wrist are affected with prolonged use of electronic gadgets. People who use smartphones excessively, because of their reduced amounts of face-to-face interaction, are likely to have a feeling that their social relationships are not supportive and rewarding and that they are not actively contributing to the happiness and well-being of others. The aim of this review article is to study literature and list the problems associated with prolonged use of electronic gadgets and ways to minimize the symptoms owing to increased ‘screen time’. Smartphone overuse may lead to development of repetitive stress injury or overuse syndrome thereby affecting hand function resulting in pain in the thumb. Prolonged use of electronic gadgets may affect the human body adversely. There is a critical need to promote healthy ways of smartphone use, as well as the importance of friendship and family connectedness as a way of promoting the psychological well-being. Physicians should get themselves updated of these new disorders and younger generation needs to be educated adequately about the ergonomic practices and health safety of gadget usage.

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Correspondence to Gurmeet Singh Sarla MBBS, MS (General Surgery).

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Sarla, G.S. Excessive use of electronic gadgets: health effects. Egypt J Intern Med 31, 408–411 (2019). https://doi.org/10.4103/ejim.ejim_56_19

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