Since Charles Babbage’s (1791-1871) concept of a digital, programmable computer and his Analytical Engine, a humble precursor of the modern computer, the World has not been the same. This has had a defining impact on everyday life from supercomputers to the PC, the entire gamut having a greatly positive slant in the modern world. But along with this, there is the flip side. We intend to delve into the disadvantages of computers.
Disadvantages of Computers
Carpal Tunnel and Eye Strain
The carpal tunnel exists in the wrist and protects the median nerve and flexor tendons that run through it. It is lined by small wrist bones, the carpal bones. Repeated movement of fingers on the keyboard results in this syndrome which is accompanied by numbness and pain of the fingers. It occurs when the median nerve gets pinched. The treatment includes rest, splints, ice-packs, cortisone injections, and surgery.
Do use an ergonomic keyboard such as the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
Radiation from the monitor causes eye dryness. Some points to reduce eye fatigue
- Keep the monitor clean from dust and dirt. The eyes benefit.
- 20-30 inches is the ideal distance to position the monitor.
- The height of the monitor should be just below eye level.
- Use an anti-glare film on the monitor.
- The room should be properly lit
- Use large fonts that are easy to read
- Use an LCD monitor in place of CRT
- Take frequent breaks
- Use good-quality mouse and keyboard
Too Much Sitting
Sitting down for long periods is rife with postural problems. Blood pools in the lower limbs, pins, and needles and other ailments do not bode well. Similarly, standing up operating your computer, maybe slightly better but you run the risk of varicose veins in the bargain. The best solution is to stretch, exercise and walkabout.
Short Attention Span and Too Much Multi-Tasking
The Internet and computers have bestowed one legacy, instant gratification. Everything is available on tap. This, in turn, is your fix and if what you seek is not readily available, you tend to get frustrated and irritable.
All computers perform multitasking. This does eat up into the computer resources but our concern is the human factor. With a reduced attention span, the chances of making errors rise dramatically, cognitive performance goes down and overall productivity nosedives.
Curb Learning Create Dependency
The computer is the invention number one of the 20th century. It is a very powerful tool for garnering information, completing mundane tasks, etc. all in a flash. And thereby it limits learning. As an example, when typing out, let’s say a letter, you do it blindly, typos and all. Then run a program called Grammarly which corrects the letter, spellings and punctuation included. In time, you forget your commas and semi-colons. This dependency is counterproductive.
Loss of Privacy
Your computer is a repository of your personal information. And there are eager eagles waiting on the fringes to lay their hands on that information. Identity theft is one of the scourges of the Internet and has spawned a horde of vultures whose main occupation is scamming you. Some tips to thwart these malicious people to foil interception when you are sending out confidential information on the Internet
- Ensure data is encrypted
- The lock icon on the address bar should be in the locked position
- The site URL should be https://—indicating that all data is encrypted.
- Use a safe password.
- Where available, two-factor authentication should be enabled. This means that other than the password, there will be another method to prove your credentials.
- Your software and operating system should be kept updated without fail.
- E-mail attachments should not be opened right away. Attachments and hyperlinks are commonly used to plant viruses and malware.
- Never reveal sensitive information via e-mail as it is not encrypted and can be read by an intercepting party.
- If using wireless, employ a network using WEP, a form of secure protocol.
- Use a secure browser. Internet Explorer was atrociously bad and unsafe. Chrome and Firefox are stable and good browsers.
- Internet plug-ins are riddled with security vulnerabilities such as Adobe Flash. Keep all plug-ins updated.
- Keep an eye open for shoulder engineering; people reading your browser over your shoulder while you are engrossed.
- Install an anti-virus program. Equally suggested is Malwarebytes for latching onto malware and thwarting attempts to install them on your computer.
Time Sink and Other Distractions
This swings both ways. A computer is a brilliant machine but there is a trend that what you at first set out to search, leads you on converging paths. You are left wandering and reading about other things than what was your goal. A lot of time is spent or rather misspent.
Another deterrent is time consumed in following social networks.
Environmental Impact and Ballooning Waste
All waste generated from computers falls under the category of toxic waste. Strict regulations are in place regarding their disposal. Printer cartridges, batteries, monitors, computer-related parts like motherboards, etc. Information regarding organizations that are tasked with this kind of waste generation is readily available on the net.
Can Reduce Jobs
Computers have advanced far enough to take over and eliminate the need of a human operator. Quantum leaps and bounds have been made in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Bots enjoy special favor among employers as cutting labor costs is the outcome. Industries, where they are in use already, are assembly lines, phone operators, telemarketers, receptionists, cashiers, bank tellers (ATMs), etc. This is a fast burgeoning list.
Trolls, Abuse, Stalking, And Exploitation
There are these losers who take great pleasure in tormenting and abusing people under the cover of Internet anonymity. Stalking is a crime in many countries. The fault lies partly with people who put all their information on the net and other social groups without realizing that they are subject to misuse. Their one agenda is to exploit. Beware who you befriend on the Internet.
Depression and Being Anti-social
This is an oft-repeated occurrence, especially among the younger generations. Internet gaming is highly addictive and its adherents literally shun any other social activity including society or being a part of every day, normal social life. On line, peer-to-peer social networking sites are another disruptive influence in that participants live in them preferring this interaction to normal interaction. Online shopping or plain browsing shopping sites is another hook. All these closed-door activities alienate one and a tendency towards increasing anti-social behavior.
Virus and Hacking Attacks
Cybercrime has gained in leaps and bounds as people get more and more careless with their personal information. Hackers with the help of malicious tools such as Trojans, Key-loggers, Sniper, John the Ripper, Wireshark, etc. often search and find vulnerable computers. The beauty is there are a number of tutorials that teach you how to hack. Getting hold of your individual information is the goal.
Sexual Predators of The Internet
An internet predator entices his intended quarry, especially children. They track down their prey by monitoring email, social networking, chatrooms, exposing kids to online relationships. This rings bells when predators are involved. Kids who post revealing pictures, reveal past sexual wrongs and enter into online sex talk, are their prey. Parents have to be a lot proactive in knowing what their children are up to before they fall prey to online predators.
Less Human Interactions
An escalating obsession with online games, gambling, watching pornography, shopping and the other numerous online distractions have one outfall; the shunning of human company. This has debilitating psychological fallouts over time.
The efforts some people resort to getting hold of personal data is vast. The main intention here is to steal your identity, and with the gleaned information use it to open accounts, credit cards, etc. In the long run, siphoning off your funds is the goal.
Computers Cannot Make Their Own Decisions
A computer is not blessed with an IQ. Even the most advanced robot is short on this. The acronym GIGO (Garbage in Garbage out) sums it all. The operator has to be focussed with his feeds. Give it the correct inputs and you will get bang on outputs. Error ridden inputs will yield the wrong outputs. A computer is handicapped in that it cannot differentiate true from false.
Having seen the negative effects that computer usage can bring about, there is no negating its powerful advantages for society, for students, and the huge bank of users. As is always the case, anything useful is exploited. So as a computer user, being safe, practicing safe operating standards is the only way to keep ahead in the game. Also never neglect taking care of the environment which we usually tend to.