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Are We Being Served? How Technology Has Become Our Puppet Master

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Our preoccupation with technology

There are over two billion smartphone users in the world.

Using a cellular phone while driving is illegal in forty-eight states. In 2001 New York became the first state to ban the use of cellular phones while driving. Technology continues to tighten its grip.

Today, much of our time is spent using technology.

I am by no means exempt. Some days I immediately reach for my phone as soon as my eyelids separate.

I often take no thought to first giving God praise for waking me up. Sometimes I do not take a moment to plan my day before I reach out and touch technology.

Much of the projects I procrastinate on are due to the distractions of social media.

Some days I arise with a post already mentally written, only to become distracted by one ding from my phone. Or, I go to my email for some small detail and remain there for some time. Worse still it leads me to a ‘browsing’ spree.

More valuable time lost. Time I can never replace.

We have become so dependent on technology. Many of us spend more one-to-one time online than with our families.

This was not always so. Being a woman of a certain age, I did not grow up with a cellular phone in one hand.

How did this necessity become such an obsession? From the smallest child to the oldest adult, technology is all the rave.

I really never leave home without it.

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Some time ago a video circulated of an older woman in New York, she was so engrossed in her cell phone she walked into an open manhole suffering severe injuries.

There are reports of persons walking into oncoming traffic and into the arms of death, all as a result of our fascination with social media. Each is trying to one-up the other with the perfect image or post for increased likes or follows.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, approximately 76,000 persons have suffered injuries due to cellular phones use. For each 100,000 cell phone users, at least two injuries are reported.

You can do the math.

The National Library of Medicine posits that cellular phone injuries of the head and neck have drastically increased over the past 20 years, with the majority of injuries among those aged 13 to 29 years.

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Text neck syndrome

Text neck syndrome is a fairly new diagnosis characterized by pain and headache, soreness to the neck, arms, and upper back.

The cervical spine is an amazing and efficient part of our bodies. It is the pathway for nourishment, provides support, protection and allows for 180° movement.

Widespread use of technology, texting, and computers have allowed for a steep increase in injuries of the neck and upper back.

A human head weighs approximately 12 pounds and, in its correct anatomical position, the weight is evenly distributed. But as we extend our necks forward and downward, the weight on the cervical spine increases.

At a 15-degree angle, the weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s about 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.

Imagine toting 40 to 60 pounds hanging on your neck each day!

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Ways to prevent injuries

Technology is here to stay, and I would predict that the time spent on our devices may actually increase. Since prevention is not an option, let’s see how we can cure some of the pitfalls before they start: —

  1. Avoid using your device for greater than 20-minutes at any one time. Take short breaks. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take 20 seconds and look 20 feet ahead.
  2. Alternate your fingers to reduce repetitive injury. Keep your wrists as relaxed and straight as possible.
  3. Reduce injury by placing your device on a hard surface, in this way you won’t have to ‘grip’ with the other hand for prolonged periods.
  4. Be mindful of your posture and keep your device at your chest, chin, or eye level, this reduces the bend and strain to your neck and upper back. If you must have your phone below eye level, try to look down using your eyes rather than your neck, (very difficult to remember and do).
  5. Stay hydrated
  6. Blink your eyes often to keep them moisturized.
  7. During breaks, walk away from your phone and perform a few stretches.

Closing thoughts

Without a doubt, the web, cellular phones, and technology have revolutionized our world. It is a thing of beauty. It has made it possible to communicate, share information, and trade goods and services in real-time.

Our world is better for it. But we have a responsibility to educate ourselves and each other so that we can master its use safely.

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Irresponsible use of handheld devices is not only an error of the young, the older adults fall prey to its charms as well.

There is an urgent need for consumers to be educated about the dangers of the irresponsible use of technology, and on injury prevention while using these devices.

Remain mindful as you go about your life, practice helpful body mechanics so that you may be able to enjoy browsing the world wide web for a long time to come.

Posted on 19 Comments

Should They Be Circumcised?

baby
Photo by Yến Yến on Unsplash


Surgical snipping without consent

I began in a place that’s relatively old world style. Growing up my world was patriarchal … that never sat well with me. Even as a child I did not like the idea of “needing” a man’s permission for my life. I have always harbored the mindset that we are equal. The male brain is no more evolved that mine based solely on the fact that he “may” possesses testosterone in greater quantities than I — (potential posts for another time).

My grandmother (aka bonus mom) never subscribed to the idea of circumcision. She was blessed with five male children. None of her boys she stated were circumcised. We will have to take her word for it!

 


 

When I was eighteen a close relative gave birth to her first child and she decided to have him circumcised. My teenage eyes saw what a botched job it was on that poor baby and my decision to never circumcise was recording data for future use.

Fast forward to years later, as a nurse I have had the pleasure and misfortune to be present for many life-changing events; circumcision being among them. That poor newborn’s screams echoed off the walls and I was moved beyond compassion for him. My questioning mind wondered why on earth would anyone put their child through such torment! My decision to forego circumcision was cemented!

When my own son was born and the question was asked, my answer was unequivocally NO! This was a debate I had had with myself since quite young and nothing had changed that notion for me. I knew I did not want to put him through that kind of torture.

 


What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin covering the tip of the penis. The procedure is mostly performed on newborn boys for the purposes of health benefits, religious reasons or to conform to societal norms.

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Why circumcise?

Sometimes the need for circumcision is a medical one. If the foreskin is too tight and causes problems when it needs to be retracted over the glans. According to the US National Library of Medicine it is also recommended for older boys and men in an effort to reduce sexually transmitted infections and other times it is simply a rite of passage.

Benefits of circumcision:

  • Easier to clean: With the removal of the foreskin, a male child will find it easier to keep the the penis clean.
  • Less infections: Although the risks of urinary tract infections are low in males, per medical literature removing the foreskin further reduces the risk for themselves and future partners. Science has proven that circumcised men have a lower risk of acquiring and transmitting many sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Circumcision results in lower incidences of STI’s, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), genital warts, cancers of the penis and cervix, trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis.
  • Necessary due to phimosis. Rarely the foreskin may be difficult or even impossible to retract (phimosis). This of course will require surgical intervention.
  • Decreased incidence of penile cancer. Although cancer of the penis is rare, it’s less common in circumcised men. This can be a boon for their future partner as well.
  • Reduced incidences of cervical cancers in female sexual partners of circumcised men.
  • Financially beneficial to society.

Risks of circumcision:

  1. Genital mutilation— missteps can result in permanent functional and aesthetic changes.
  2. Risk of excessive bleeding—  due to the close proximity of the urethra to the ventral surface(underside) of the penis, extreme caution should should be undertaken during the procedure as missteps can result in necrosis of the fragile tissue and/or the creation of a fistula (an abnormal connection between two structures). Death by bleeding may also be due to familial blood disorders.
  3. Infections —  that become serious due to undeveloped immune system leading to; meningitis, necrotizing fasciitis, gangrene, and sepsis have all been reported as complications of infected circumcision sites.
  4. Excessive foreskin removal — this will eventually heal, but initially causes distress among both the parent, the child and the practitioner. Also may not be esthetically pleasing.
  5. Insufficient foreskin removal/adhesions and skin bridges — necessitates a second surgery, the excess skin covers and adheres to the glans (phimosis), resulting in the need for additional surgery.
  6. Urinary retention, cysts, chordee (curvature of the penis), stenosis (narrowing) of the meatus, hypospadias and epispadias, penile necrosis, and finally death.

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Conclusion:

We have some of the benefits and the risks with which we can make informed decisions. Medicine posits that circumcision benefits society by increased health and longevity. Parents are also tasked with making medical life-altering decisions about another person without their consent.

I have taught my eldest son how to retract the foreskin for hygiene purposes and to date he has had no issues with that. Still, safe sexual practices remain essential whether we decide to circumcise or to remain uncircumcised.

Your thoughts are always welcome — to circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question?

References:

  1. https://kidshealth.org
  2. http://www.auanet.org
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc
  5. https://med.stanford.edu