Devil in our gadgets

The boon of technology is fast becoming the bane of the modern life

Enter any gadget gallery at random and meet with devices that will make you feel ‘paleolithic’ no matter how up-to-date you are. The ontogeny of technology in our lives—offices, homes, hotels, washrooms, cars, on our laps, inside our ears, in our pockets and those emotionally gripped in our hands—is manifesting itself in more ways than it was intended to. If you are feeling depressed, having a severe pain in the neck or back or wondering why your thumb is numb, you need to look beyond the devices’ user manual.

While the couch potatoes [TV addicts] suffer primarily with issues relating to sleep, back pain, obesity, compulsive eating syndrome and plain addiction to the idiot box, the finer, modern technology is taking its toll on both physical and psychological fronts. Enough evidence is available about the ill-effects of the cell-phone towers’ airwaves. They’ve even  proved disastrous for the once ubiquitous sparrows that have become extinct in cities along with certain varieties of birds. Here are some of the deadly problems rapidly surfacing in an increasingly technology driven world.

Thumbs down

The ‘Blackberry Thumb’ syndrome—a term given to an injury that smart phones and gaming devices cause to compulsive users is no more a rarity. It begins with pain, swelling and stiffness at the base of the thumb due to an irritation of the muscles. The symptoms include aching and throbbing pain in the thumb [or sometimes other fingers] and in the wrist and may cause disability of the hands.

For whom the bell rings

Have you ever felt that your mobile phone is ringing or vibrating even when it’s not? Terms such as ‘Faux alarm’, ‘Ringxiety’ or the ‘Phantom Ringing Syndrome [PRS]’, are used for those suffering with this syndrome as they often ‘hear’ their mobile phone ringing or ‘feel’ it vibrating, only to discover it was a false alarm! This could mostly happen when you are sleeping or when busy doing office work or household chores.

Sticking out your neck

Perhaps, one of the most common is the ‘Texters Neck’ or ‘Text Neck’ syndrome that is linked with people using mobile phones, laptops or tablets. Keeping the neck and head stretched forwards for long periods puts a heavy strain on the neck and eventually causes the natural curvature of the neck to reverse, leading to serious neck problems.

The laptop thigh

Laptops give us the flexibility of movement but working for hours, with it perched on the lap, could result in a serious skin problem known as the ‘Toasted Skin Syndrome.’ The name arises as a result of discolouration of the skin on the lap, which makes it look patchy. In medical terms, it is known as ‘Erythema Ab Igne’ and commonly known as ‘Laptop Thigh.’ Stagnation of blood causes pigmentation of the skin and patches.

Microwaving the brain

The World Health Organization [WHO] has long ago announced that there is a potential risk of cancer being caused from mobile phone radiation, since they emit signals in the form of microwaves. The use of mobile phones for a prolonged duration enables the radiation to get in direct contact with the tissues in the brain. This can affect changes in the brain cells which may become cancerous and cause a rare type of tumour that develops in the brain or the spine.


Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Ravi Chhabra
Ravi V Chhabra has worked as a journalist for two decades with leading print and online media in India and abroad. His column ‘Flavoursome’ appears in a car magazine and he writes at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here