Computer usage has grown exponentially over time, with nearly 120,000 households reporting access to an Internet-ready computer as of October 2009 according to the US Census Bureau. With this ever-increasing reliance on computers (and the technology that accompanies them) comes a growing list of benefits--and concerns. While computers help make things that seemed impossible just yesterday a reality, a number of dangers that merit equal attention exist as well.
Perhaps the most useful thing about computers involves the effort and time it saves us: performing tasks in a considerably simpler manner than could have been accomplished a generation ago. Computer users have the option of connecting to the Internet to send an e-mail that is received instantly, typing a research paper inside a program that checks for grammar and speech errors or creating a virtual presentation for a business meeting, all of which can be performed on the same machine.
Computers double as a video game console, a music player and a TV all in one convenient package. With hard drive space perpetually increasing, users have the ability to store virtually any number of entertainment-based files, creating a digital collection of favorites and providing hours of fun in the process.
Since they're more readily available now than they were in the past, computers are commonly used in classrooms to assist in the educational process. Teachers can present lessons in an interactive format or even find an applicable software program or game that helps reinforce a concept being taught in a class lesson. Additionally, students can connect to the Internet and perform research on any topic imaginable.
Con: Health Risks
Using a computer frequently comes with potential health concerns, most notably those associated with vision and posture. Staring at a bright computer screen for extended periods of time puts excess strain on the eyes, which leads to a variety of vision-related issues. Additionally, sitting at a computer may lead to bad habits regarding awkward body positioning, particularly with leaning forward and putting stress on the back. Typists that use improper form also run the risk of joint and wrist pain among other clinical conditions.
With so many computers connected to the Internet, dangers from all over the world must be watched for. They include viruses that destroy the valuable files on a computer or steal private personal information, and online predators that prey on unsuspecting children. Computers also also function as another medium that subjects younger users to questionable content such as violence and unsuitable language.
With the endless world of possibilities a computer provides, just taking time away from them can prove challenging. As computers continue to show up in more and more households and technology makes additional strides over the years, the appeal will grow even stronger, which could result in less time doing active things and more free time devoted to sitting in front of a monitor.