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The scourge of computers

Along with the influx of modernity and with the technological revolution happening almost everyday—these situations gave birth to one of mankind’s greatest inventions, the computer. For so long, never did it occur to anyone that such a machine would soon govern and to a certain extent, dictate the lives of many individuals. Ever since the computer was made available to the market, it cannot be denied that such has redefined the whole course of history. The computer prompted radical changes in the business arena. It paved the way for the creation of new business models and framework.

For many business establishments, computers are instrumental into their business growth and development. It allowed speedier processes and faster transactions. Microchips functioned as secured storage for important documents and information. With the establishment of the World Wide Web, the computer has managed to break the geographical and cultural barriers that prevent different communities from connecting to each other. The computer performed the impossible—and that is to destroy the constraints presented by time and space.

The creation of the virtual world made each and every individual connect regardless of their differing beliefs, race and culture. It can be also observed that computers enabled easy access to information that was once monopolized by very few groups. Indeed, this machine has transformed the lives of many. However, despite of the seemingly indispensable advantages that the computer brings, it is evident that in as much as this device has produced numerous benefits, this has also destroyed the sturdy foundations of human interaction and socialization.

Instead of connectedness, the computer brought forth further fragmentations and divisions in every community. Prolonged computer exposure triggered diseases and ailments that readily upset the human body. Lastly, it is evident that computers have been also used for criminal and illegal acts such as identity theft and phishing, for example. How come mankind’s greatest invention has turned into one of the most impending societal threats? What are the negative impacts of computers that seem to challenge and question its importance?

These questions shall be thoroughly explained on the whole course of this discussion. The decline of education and reading public To some, computers are highly instrumental in terms of gaining knowledge and information. There are even educational institutions that recognize the potential of incorporating computers in classrooms primarily because it advances the technological skills of each and every child. As the years go by, the idea of distance or online learning has readily materialized. This allowed every individual to pursue a degree regardless of his or her location.

The flexibility of online learning appealed to the interests of many, most especially to those who readily value education but are trapped by their busy and hectic schedules. However, as many educators argue, online education does not really guarantee quality learning. The absence of a solid and concrete student-teacher relationship prevents educators from monitoring the progress of their respective students. Educators find it hard to evaluate whether their students develop a substantial understanding and comprehension of the topics that they discuss.

An online student can always pretend that he or she has fully grasped the concepts that were presented to him. As Offir et. al explained, online learning lacks the necessary environment that may promote critical thinking, awareness and actual application of the concepts learned (28). Other than that, it can be also observed that because of too much dependence on computers, more and more people have readily relied on online information. This is in stark contrast to earlier years wherein individuals would exert extra effort in going to public and private libraries.

The massive information presented in the net seems to result into a decline of the reading public. The same situation has also posited a threat to media organizations as print media is fast loosing popularity. Newspapers are hardly read and given attention. While it is true that computers enabled journalists to published and update their stories on a much faster pace, issues regarding factual accuracy may arise. In addition to that, online news does not project a credible image compared to its printed counterparts. In the meantime, not all books have their digital versions that can be readily downloaded.

But more than anything else, with all the information that is present online, it is hard to distinguish facts from mere fiction. Computer-related diseases Another known negative impact of computers is the proliferation of certain injuries or ailments that are caused by its prolonged use and exposure. It is also evident that computer prevent individuals from engaging into an active and dynamic routine. More often than not, sedentary lifestyles are considered as one of the main causes of obesity (Bouchard 85). With limited physical activities, a person may find it hard to burn those calories and unwanted cholesterols.

As a result, an individual may gain excessive weight that may prevent them from having a normal life. It is a long known fact that obese people are often subject to discrimination. Also, the social stigma attached to them leads to negative psychological effect. But more than gaining weight per se, obesity also gives birth to other chronic diseases such as heart-failure and diabetes. These ailments contribute to the continuous increase of mortality rate in many parts of the globe. On the other hand, extended computer use also gives in to repetitive strain injuries or RSI (Williamson 826).

RSI is the result of too much pressure and stress because of executing similar tasks for long periods of time. Williamson argued that most RSI problems can be traced to frequent keyboard activities such as typing for example (826). Due to the absence of ergonomic features of certain tools and gadgets, the hands are frequently subjected into risky conditions. Improper posture is not maintained which further adds to the stress and accumulated injury. Carpal tunnel is an example of a repetitive strain injury that hinders the productive capabilities of many.

Carpal tunnel victims often experience pain and numbness of the hands and they have weaker grips (Rister 154). . Another health-related risk that is related to computers is eye strain, which if not immediately addressed can lead to sever eye damage. Zand, Spreen and Lavalle noted that prolonged screen focus may readily force the eyes to go beyond their comfort zones (272). Karwowski explained that computer screens tend to produce “discomfort glare” which can cause “visual distractions” that can further worsen eye strain (998).

Aside from the above-mentioned health-related risks that computer usage brings, there is yet another disorder that is being looked by various researchers; this is the Internet Addiction Disorder or IAD (Wood & Smith 102) Young described that internet addiction elicits psychological disorders. Individuals who are suffering from these conditions experience problems with their personal relationships primarily because of too much time spent in online activities (Young 2). But of course, connecting to the web is not possible without computers.

Upsetting the socialization process Obviously, one of the most detrimental impacts of computers is the deterioration of socialization skills. As previously stated, the seemingly undisputed tandem of the computer and the internet, more and more individuals become interested in the community and interaction in the real world readily diminishes. Various social-networking websites have emerged and online messaging systems made communication and even video conferencing possible. Also, online communities allowed individuals with similar tastes and interests to converge.

While it cannot be denied that social networking websites and even online forums contribute to the widening of the individuals social horizon, the relationships formed are rather weak. This cannot possibly equate to the relationships formed that are initiated by physical, actual and real-life interactions. Once and for all, online users are permitted to use multiple identities. They can project different personalities which are not necessarily reflective of their real-life behaviors and attitudes (Ingraham 178).

Moreover, there are also instances wherein social networking sites have been used for illegal activities such as prostitution. There are cases wherein these sites are used by criminals to victimize other individuals, most especially the children (Shinder & Cross 36). Most of the times, crimes are committed when two different individuals agree to meet each other. Their apparent unfamiliarity towards each other’s peculiar behaviors can trigger conflicts and clashes. Also, it cannot be denied that online-based activities encourage isolation. Take for example as for the case of online gaming.

Because of this, children and adult alike spend more time in front of the computer rather than enjoying the company of their friends or performing other important activities like studying. Moreover, the anarchic nature of the internet—the absence of an efficient regulatory board exposes individuals to excessive violence that may influence their behaviors, perception and attitudes. As a matter of fact, even in games that does not require online access, the presence of violence and deviant behaviors can readily affect its viewers, most especially the children.

Conclusion There is no doubt that computers play a significant role in the lives of many. However, the negative effects or impacts that it produces cannot be readily ignored. For one, the issues covered in this discussion are matters of social interest. The proliferation of computer-related disease for example hampers the growth of a strong and reliable society. For a country to succeed, its citizens must be in good shape. In the meantime, the decline of the reading public diminishes the constant quest for knowledge and reliable information.

Lastly, the absence of actual socialization prohibits social cohesion—something that is instrumental in building a cooperative and united community. Bibliography Bouchard, Claude. Physical Activity and Obesity. Illinois: Human Kinetics Publishers Inc. , 2000 *This book stressed the importance of physical activity to achieve a healthy life. This also examines the relationship of sedentary lifestyle and obesity. With regards to this project, it is evident that as the number of computer owners grows, the chances of developing an inactive routine are high.

Relatively, this also increases the possibility of being obese which in return can lead to chronic ailments. Ingraham, Laura. Power to the People. Massachusetts: Regnery Publishing Inc. , 2007 *In this book, there is a part wherein Laura Ingraham critically evaluates the purpose of social-networking sites. Ingraham expressed disappointments on how such sites enabled individuals to create fictitious characters and manifest deviant behaviors. From a critical perspective, the researcher sees the contentions of Ingraham valid and applicable to this study.

Massive exposure to these sites tend to prevent individuals from socializing and instead spend more time creating artificial attributes and features of themselves rather than nurturing their inner- self. Karwowski, Waldemar. International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2001 *Waldemar Karwowski is concerned on work-related injuries or diseases that can be incurred in the work-place. From the term “ergonomic” alone, it is apparent that Karwowski refer to the unhealthy design of tools and equipment that cause injuries.

He discussed how computer users may eventually develop eye strain due to the discomfort glare brought about by computer screens. This is beneficial to this study since it provides a clear explanation of how computers can injure the eyes. Offir, Baruch; Yossi Lev, Yael Lev and Ingrid Barth. “Using Interaction Analysis to Assess Distance Leanrning. ” Eds Leping Liu; D. LaMont Johnson; Cleborne . Maddux and Norma HendersonEvaluation and Assessment in Educational Information Technology. New York: Haworth Press Inc. , 2001. 27-40 *This article examines both the advantages and disadvantages of online learning.

Content analysis was primarily used to assess the impacts of distance or online learning. As online learning would not be possible without the use of computers, the arguments presented in this discussion are highly applicable to this research paper. Rister, Robert. Healing Without Medication. New Jersey: Basic Health Publications Inc. , 2003 *Robert Rister briefly explained the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel is often linked to RSI. Rister’s explanation on how carpal tunnel affects its patients made this study more comprehensive and credible.

Moreover, it cannot be denied that mostly of carpal tunnel syndrome’s victims are the ones who are known for utilizing computers for long hours. Shinder, Debra & Michael Cross. Scene of the Cybercrime. Massachusetts: Syngress Publishing Inc. *Shinder and Cross elaborated how social-networking sites like MySpace and Facebook allowed the perpetuation of crime and illegal activities. The two mentioned that because individuals can openly discussed and exchange their personal information in these sites, criminals find it easy to prey on their victims.

The information presented in this book plays an important role in this study since social networking sites are not just about internet utilization, it cannot be denied that in this field, computers also play an important role. It is important to note that more than anything-else, the internet is a computer mediated technology. Williamson, Evan. “Caught in the Grip of RSI: A Firsthand Account. ” Ed. Rob Kling Computerization and Controversy. California: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1996. 826-829 *Evan Williamson shared his personal account of he acquired RSI in the workplace. The article provided an explanation regarding RSI.

This enabled the researcher to have substantial understanding of how RSI occurs and why it is considered as one of the health-related problems brought about by computer usage. Wood, Andrew and Matthew Smith. Online Communication. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 2005 *This book basically deals with the operations and dynamics of online communication. Along with this, Wood and Smith also explained the nature of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). The researcher perceives this material as beneficial to the study since it generally outlines how internet addiction has taken the concern and interest of many psychologists.

Young, Kimberly. Caught in the Net. Canada: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1998 *Kimberly Young explained why internet addiction disorder can be considered as a psychological problem. Young mentioned several cases of internet addiction that she handled as a psychologist. Young’s narration is related to this study since computers are utilized to connect online, it can be seen that its multi- functional nature is also instrumental in the proliferation of psychological disorders, not just repetitive strain injuries.

Zand, Janet, Allan Spreen and James Lavalle. Smart Medicine for Healthier Living. New York: Avery Publishing Corp, 1999. *Zand, Spreen and Lavalle enumerated ways on how to treat various diseases and ailments. But other than that, the book also explained how eye strain is developed due to prolonged screen focus. The concepts presented in this book readily add support and strength into the whole research paper.

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