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Health Concerns of Computer Use

Resources Graphic Design 1567 12/21/2023 2:51:49 AM

Prolonged computer use can raise some health concerns. Discover essential health tips for computer users! Learn how to combat eye strain, RSI, back pain, and mental stress with practical remedies. Stay healthy in the digital age!

Health Concerns of Computer Use in 2024

Extensive computer use often brings with it a set of health challenges, from eye strain and back problems to issues with mental health. According to an article from The Independent, in 2023, the average screen time for users around the world aged 16 to 64 – across different platforms and devices – is six hours and 37 minutes per day.

Screen Time Statistics

With the likelihood of experiencing adverse health effects increasing the longer people look at screens, anyone who works extensively with computers and design tools can encounter various issues. Below, we’ll go through some common health concerns of computer use and share practical computer health tips that can help address them. We will also talk about the video games disadvantages that affect more and more people.

Health Concerns of Computer Use

Graphic designers, like many professionals who work extensively with computers and design tools, can also encounter various health issues. As graphic designer, I also encountered health difficulties and some of them are still present.

Below you have a list with the most common computer health risks. Some of the “sitting in front of a computer all day” effects might surprise you and some may not. As I mentioned earlier, I experienced most, if not all, of these computer health problems to varying degrees. My guess is that anyone could list 10 disadvantages of computer use that pose risks to various health issues.

👀🖥️ Eye Strain and Vision Issues

Prolonged screen time can lead to eye strain, computer vision syndrome (CVS), blurred vision, and headaches due to focusing on digital displays for extended periods.

In most cases, eye strain and CVS occur because the task's visual demands exceed the individual's visual abilities to perform them comfortably. Additionally, uncorrected vision problems like myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism, and inadequate eye focusing can contribute to the development of CVS.

Computer Glasses

As such, glasses-wearers that are staring at a screen all day must update their prescription to prevent vision issues from extended screen time. At Oakley you can find glasses that include high-quality optics and anti-glare coatings that reduce reflections and minimise visual disturbances caused by screen glare. Oakley also allows customisations for glasses to be fitted with blue light filtering lenses that specifically reduce eye strain and fatigue associated with prolonged computer use.

It’s important to wear computer glasses to minimize the risks. The computer glasses blue light is especially beneficial. There are lots of blue light glasses benefits, so make sure you talk with your ophthalmologist about this.

How to Prevent Computer Health Problems: Tips & Remedies

To help alleviate digital eye strain, it’s essential to take frequent screen breaks to allow the eyes to rest. For this, you can follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Among the eye health tips for computer users this tip is one of the most important.

Using lubricating eye drops like Visine may also reduce eye strain and relieve dry eyes as they mimic tears, help replace your eye’s natural moisture, and protect the eyes' surface.

Customize your screen settings by adjusting the brightness and contrast to comfortable levels. Additionally, increase the font size to a clear, easily readable size. Opting for high contrast settings can also alleviate strain on your eyes.

Consider using an anti-glare screen or adjusting room lighting to minimize reflections and glare on the screen.

💢💻 Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)

RSIs are among computer health risks typically that develop when individuals repeatedly perform the same or similar motions over an extended period.

Using a mouse, keyboard, or other design tools repetitively can lead to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or wrist pain, affecting the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and neck.

Carpal Tunnel Relief

Prolonged use of specific muscles or joints without adequate rest can result in overuse injuries. The stress placed on these tissues prevents their recovery, making inflammation, pain, and potential damage a concern for individuals whose work necessitates extended computer use.

How to Prevent Computer Health Problems: Tips & Remedies

Break up tasks that involve repetitive movements. Alternate between different activities or take on tasks that engage other muscle groups, putting too much stress on specific areas. These useful computer health tips are effective if you use them on a daily basis.

Ensure your chair and desk are at the correct height so that your arm and wrist are in a comfortable position when using the mouse.

Avoid gripping the mouse too tightly; instead, use a relaxed grip. Consider using an ergonomic mouse that supports a more natural hand position, like an ergonomic vertical mouse or a trackball mouse.

Reduce mouse usage by utilizing keyboard shortcuts whenever possible and an ergonomic keyboard. Perform regular stretching exercises for your hands, wrists, and arms to keep them flexible and prevent stiffness. To protect your wrist I highly recommend using a wrist rest. Some exercises, like squeezing a stress ball or using handgrip strengtheners, can help build strength in the muscles used for mouse control.

Explore ergonomic software that reminds you to take breaks, encourages proper posture or provides exercises to reduce strain.

💺💻 Back and Posture Problems

Sitting for long periods in front of a computer is among the most frequent computer health risks. Among the most common bad posture side effects are back pain, neck pain, poor posture, musculoskeletal disorders, and stiffness due to improper ergonomic setups or lack of breaks.

Bad Computer Posture

Leaning forward to view the computer screen or hunching over your keyboard can result in a forward head posture. This misalignment strains the neck and upper back, contributing to discomfort and postural problems.

Individuals with pre-existing back conditions may be more susceptible to aggravated symptoms with prolonged computer use. This means that if you have conditions such as herniated discs or spinal misalignments, prolonged sitting and poor posture are likely to worsen your condition.

How to Prevent Computer Health Problems: Tips & Remedies

Ensure that your desk, chair, and computer are set up ergonomically. Your monitor should be at eye level, and your chair should support the natural curve of your spine.

While sitting, keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. But it's important to note that the "perfect" 90-degree angle for the knees isn't always necessary for everyone. Some people might find a slightly greater or lesser angle more comfortable. The main focus should be on ensuring your feet are flat on the floor (or on a footrest if needed) to support your lower body and maintaining a posture that feels natural and comfortable while also supporting the natural curve of your spine.

Invest in an ergonomic chair that supports the natural curve of your spine or if you don't want to spend that much use a lumbar support pillow. Ensure it's adjustable for height, backrest, and armrests.

Adjust your desk or chair height so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle when typing. Your monitor should be at eye level and arm's length away.

Take short breaks every 30-60 minutes to stand, stretch, and change positions. Incorporate stretching exercises for your neck, shoulders, and back into your routine. Simple tilts, shoulder rolls, and back stretches can relieve tension and improve flexibility.

🧠💻 Stress and Mental Health

Tight deadlines, client demands, and the pressure to be creative consistently can lead to stress, anxiety, and sometimes burnout among graphic designers and other computer professionals, etc.

The continuous nature of computer-related tasks, coupled with high productivity expectations, creates performance pressure. Unsurprisingly, striving to meet such demands without adequate breaks causes mental exhaustion.

Computer Stress

Moreover, studies show that intense computer use, especially for work or online activities, may lead to social isolation. Being deprived of face-to-face interactions can make individuals more prone to feelings of loneliness and impact mental well-being.

How to Prevent Computer Health Problems: Tips & Remedies

Create a consistent daily routine to provide structure and a sense of control. This can include designated work hours, breaks, and a clear distinction between work and personal time.

Keep your workspace clutter-free and organized. A tidy space can contribute to a calmer mind and reduced stress levels.

Plan regular periods of time away from screens. Engage in activities like reading, hobbies, or spending time outdoors to give your mind a break from digital stimuli.

Incorporate mindful breathing exercises or short meditation sessions into your routine. I've used a mindful breathing necklace which is an awesome and simple tool, but with great effects. These health tips for computer users can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve focus.

Ensure you get enough quality sleep as it plays a vital role in overall health and energy levels. Use a weighted blanket to improve your sleep for example.

🏃💻 Sedentary Lifestyle

The nature of digital jobs often involves long hours of sitting, leading to a sedentary lifestyle that can contribute to obesity, cardiovascular issues, and other conditions associated with a lack of physical activity.

Computer Obesity

Prolonged sitting can lead to musculoskeletal issues, as well. The lack of movement can lead to stiffness, discomfort, and potential problems with posture, exacerbating conditions such as back pain, neck strain, and shoulder tension.

Additionally, the absence of movement results in a lower energy expenditure. With fewer calories burned, individuals may find it challenging to maintain a healthy weight, especially if dietary habits are not adjusted to compensate for the reduced activity.

How to Prevent Computer Health Problems: Tips & Remedies

Consider using an adjustable or stand-up desk to vary your working position. Standing desks promote a natural tendency to move. When standing, it’s also easier to incorporate subtle movements to break the monotony of prolonged sitting.

Use a balance ball as a chair periodically to engage core muscles and encourage movement while working.

Set reminders to take short breaks every 30-60 minutes. Use these breaks to stand up, stretch, or walk around.

Engage in regular exercise to strengthen your muscles and improve overall fitness. Cardiovascular activities and strength training can mitigate the adverse health effects of being sedentary during work hours. Use apps or wearable fitness trackers to monitor your activity levels. Many apps offer short, guided workouts designed for desk-bound individuals.

These are the main health concerns of computer use that I think we all have to pay special attention to. Read till the end to find out more information about how to use the computer in a way that doesn't harm you.

👥💻 Computer Users

How many people use computers?

📈 A total of 5.30 billion people around the world were using the internet at the start of Q4 2023, equivalent to 65.7 percent of the world's total population. According to the survey, in the U.S 87 percent of individuals have access to a computer in their households.

Types of Computer Users

There are many types of computer users that are spending time in front of a screen all day long and therefore are exposed to health hazards of using computers. Here are five examples of people who often spend considerable time in front of computers:

  • Software Developers/Programmers: They spend long hours writing code, debugging, and testing software applications, which involves extensive computer use.
  • Graphic Designers: Creating visual content, editing images, and working on design projects require graphic designers to spend significant time using design software on computers. Learn how to make money as a graphic designer from passive income and to reduce your time spent in front of a computer screen.
  • Data Analysts/Scientists: Analyzing data, conducting research, and developing models involves extensive use of computers and specialized software tools. For students, working and studying at the same time often means more hours and hours working on a computer.
  • Content Creators/YouTubers: Individuals who produce digital content, edit videos, write scripts, and manage online platforms often spend prolonged hours in front of computers.
  • Video gamers: Usually kids and teenagers that spend substantial amounts of time in front of computers or gaming consoles. They engage in extended gaming sessions, playing video games that often require hours of screen time for entertainment, competition, or streaming purposes. It’s a well known fact that youngsters are more prone to health hazards of using computer.


  • 🎮🚫 Video Gamers & Gaming Disorder

    Gaming Disorder is a recognized mental health condition marked by excessive gaming leading to significant disruptions in various aspects of life. It involves a lack of control over gaming habits and continued gaming despite negative consequences, impacting personal, social, and other areas of functioning.

    Gaming Disorder

    Here are some disadvantages of computer games that can affect your health and well-being:

    • Depression and social anxiety.
    • Lack of motivation.
    • Poor emotional regulation.
    • Poor sleep hygiene.
    • Muscle loss and fat gain.
    • Dehydration.
    • Exhaustion.

    The effects of gaming addiction are devastating and go beyond physical health. The main side effects of gaming addiction are mental health problems like anxiety, depression, increased irritability, aggressive behavior or outbursts, etc. Here are some common gaming anxiety symptoms that gamers can experience:

    • Headaches.
    • Heart palpitations.
    • Irritability.
    • Hopelessness.
    • Feelings of dread.
    • Restlessness or inability to sit still.
    • Obsessive thoughts about the game, even when not playing it.
    • Unwillingness to play a different game until you clear the level or beat the challenge.

    There are lots of disadvantages of playing video games. But, there are also solutions and computer health tips for this problem. You can try to limit screen time and take breaks, balance gaming with social interactions, incorporate physical activity into your routine, monitor mental well-being and seek help if needed.

    These disadvantages of video games have the potential to impact various groups of individuals.

    For children and adolescents, excessive gaming might affect their social development, academic performance, and physical health. For adults, long hours of gaming can interfere with work responsibilities, relationships, and overall well-being. For individuals prone to isolation, excessive gaming can further isolate those who are already at risk of social withdrawal. Those struggling with mental health issues might find that excessive gaming exacerbates their conditions.

    🤖 AI Danger & Health Issues Computer Use

    📈 Chatgpt Statistics: According to the latest available data, ChatGPT currently has around 180.5 million users. The ChatGPT website generated 1.7 billion visits in October 2023.

    Interacting extensively with chatbots might not pose direct health issues but could have indirect effects on well-being. So, the danger of AI addiction is real and it is closely related to health hazards of using computer.

    AI Danger

    The pervasive use of AI-driven technologies, such as social media algorithms and addictive applications, can contribute to digital addiction and excessive screen time. Here are five health-related safety concerns associated with AI:

    • Mental Health Impacts: AI-powered chatbots could reduce human interaction, potentially impacting emotional well-being and exacerbating feelings of isolation. Continuous reliance on chatbots for emotional support or guidance might influence emotional dependence, potentially affecting self-reliance or coping mechanisms.
    • Reduced Human Interaction: Overreliance on chatbots for social interaction might decrease real human engagement, potentially impacting mental health by reducing opportunities for meaningful connections.
    • Physical Health Effects: Prolonged interaction with AI devices, virtual reality systems, or gaming platforms may contribute to a sedentary lifestyle, leading to obesity, musculoskeletal issues, sleep disturbances, eye strain, and other health problems associated with lack of physical activity.
    • Information Overload: Engaging with chatbots for extended periods could contribute to information overload or cognitive fatigue, affecting mental clarity and focus.
    • False Sense of Security: Relying solely on chatbots for advice might lead to a false sense of security if the information provided is inaccurate or insufficient, potentially affecting decision-making regarding personal health, relationships, profession, etc.


    In Conclusion

    As our reliance on technology continues to grow, it’s crucial to address these health concerns of computer use head-on. Follow these tips to neutralize the disadvantages of computer use. Create a healthier routine and to solve the unique health challenges of extensive computer use.

    To mitigate these issues, it's important for graphic designers to practice proper ergonomics, take regular breaks, exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and practice eye exercises to reduce strain. Implementing these measures can help minimize the impact of these health problems and promote overall well-being.

    If you know other health issues caused by computers, write to us and we’ll update the article.

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