In our modern society, a lot of people spend too much time in front of computers. There are many ways to spend this time (some write books, some play Solitaire, some watch videos on YouTube, some do all of the above). I’m not one to judge – I’m one of the victims. In an ideal world I’d be much better at turning the computer off and do, I don’t know, whatever people do when they are not on the computer. But it is not an ideal world.
However, that is not the point of this post. I’m not trying to solve the problem; I’m merely trying to explore it (not unlike my approach to the Middle East conflict). What happens when you spend too much time in front of a computer? (Here, my supervisor would also demand I ask a WHY-question, or, as they are known among my co-students, a WTF-question. However, my supervisor does not supervise my blog.)
There are all sorts of well-documented physical problems – arms, backs, eyes and necks are prime targets for the injuries that might occur as a result of hours and hours in front of the screen. In addition there is a problem that is related – it’s not what you do, but what you don’t do – lack of exercise and fresh air can cause serious health issues.
However, there are also some lesser documented, non-physical problems that might occur as results of today’s extensive usage of computers. I’m talking about the mental issues.
Sometimes after having spent too much time in front of a screen I find myself behaving differently “IRL” – in real life. For instance, before adding the final ingredient in the cake batter, I wonder if I should not “save” the “document” before putting it in the oven – just in case something goes wrong. Or when I find myself doing something embarrassing, like walking into a glass door, I desperately look for the “undo”-button (Ctrl+Z). Or I wonder how I can express my feelings without Facebook’s lifesaver: the “like”-button (“Arr, this be pleasin’ to me eye!”).
My suggestion is that someone engages in thorough research on this subject immediately, since it’s important to know how technology affects us on an everyday basis. There is a definite gap in the research, a gap we cannot afford to keep open much longer. Someone needs to take this problem seriously, and in order to avoid further delays to this vital research, they need to do so without Twittering about it to all their friends. I know this might seem radical – why must these researchers bravely go where no man has been (at least for a couple of years)? Because no matter how many times we hit F5, this is one page that will not refresh. The answer can only be found when someone finally has the courage to address those WTF-questions.