What are the disadvantages of using a computer?

Updated: 07/06/2021 by Computer Hope

Although there are many advantages to using a computer, there are also dangers and disadvantages (like most things in life). Computers pose several potential health concerns if not used properly. Below is a list of many of the negative impacts of using digital technology and computers and what type of problems you may personally experience.

Carpal tunnel and eye strain

Carpal Tunnel wrist brace

A computer requires a lot of repetitive movement that often leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, moving your hand from your keyboard to a mouse and typing are all repetitive and inflict injuries.

In addition to repetitive movements, staring at a bright screen for hours can cause a lot of eye strain and even CVS (computer vision syndrome).

Taking breaks, keeping the proper posture, and understanding computer ergonomics help prevent or delay these injuries.

Too much sitting

Too much of anything is bad, and too much sitting for a long time and becoming a mouse potato can lead to health problems. Also, substituting a traditional desk for a standing desk is not a perfect solution. Studies show that standing for long periods of time is not healthy but is better than sitting. The best solution is to take frequent breaks to move around, stretch, and exercise.

Short attention span and too much multitasking

With today's computers, computer devices, and the Internet, humans have become hooked on instant gratification. As you use a computer and the Internet and get immediate answers to your questions and requests, you become accustomed to getting that quick dopamine fix. You can become easily frustrated when something doesn't work or is not answered in a timely matter.

With a reduced attention span, it is also not uncommon to multitask more and work on more than one thing at the same time. Many studies show that multitasking is less productive, can cause more mistakes, and may even be bad for your brain.

Can limit learning and create a dependency

If you can remain focused, a computer with the Internet can be one of the greatest tools in history to learn about anything. It's also easy to become overly reliant on a computer and other electronic devices. For example, a spell checker is a great tool for finding spelling errors. However, if you never learn the proper spelling of a word and rely on a spell checker or autocorrect, you're more likely to make spelling errors.

Other tools like grammar checkers, GPS, and calculators are also extremely helpful. However, if you become too reliant on these tools, you may be helpless when they're not available.

Potential of loss of privacy

Anonymous individual using a laptop.

With computers storing so much personal information, it's at risk of getting into the hands of others. Once a malicious person has your information, they could access your online accounts or use identity theft to open other accounts, such as a new credit card under your name.

Time sink and lots of distractions

Although a computer can increase your productivity, it also can waste a lot of your time. For example, you could be trying to learn more about computers and see an interesting link on cooking spaghetti, spending a few minutes reading that page. Then, you read a page about the best pot to use, which leads to reading about healthy eating. Two hours later, you realize you never achieved your original goal.

Also, with the popularity of social networks and notifications, you can become easily distracted while you are trying to work.

Increases waste and impacts the environment

Pile of electronic waste.

With the speed that computers and other electronics get replaced, older devices get thrown away frequently. These disposed of electronics can significantly impact the environment and be a hazard to humans and other life if disposed of improperly.

Can reduce jobs

As computers become smarter and more capable, they also replace the need for many jobs. In the future, it is also not inconceivable that computers can carry out any job.

Trolls, abuse, stalking, and exploitation

Face of a troll figurine.

Anyone who has spent time on the Internet has encountered trolls or abusive people, intentionally inflicting pain and suffering on others. Unfortunately, with the anonymous nature of the Internet, it's easier to encounter these people.

With more people sharing information on the Internet, it is also easier for stalkers to find personal information about people and their family. They can also use online services to find information about people.

Finally, the Internet also makes it easier for those who prey on others to find people to exploit. For safety tips, see: How to protect yourself while on the Internet.

You could become anti-social or depressed

With all the possibilities available on a computer, it is easy to get obsessed to the point you become anti-social. For example, many online games (e.g., World of Warcraft) are designed to be addictive, causing you to play the game more than being around others. Others may find online shopping so beneficial that they rarely go out to shop.

Tip

See our computer addiction page for further information about and help with computer addiction.

Social networks can also be an escape from the real world by socializing with friends and family over social networks, like Facebook. Many studies are showing social network sites can be depressing because they only show all the good, fun, and interesting things friends and family are doing. It can result in people believing that other people's lives and experiences are better than theirs.