Media would often have you believe that technology and gadgets are harmful to our day to day lives. But how much of that is really true?
Whilst, yes, staring at your Facebook feed for hours on end will do nothing for your physical or mental health, your smartphone isn’t the only gadget you can have. I have put together a list of gadgets that are being used by people in their daily lives to improve health and well being consistent.
Smartwatches have actually been around since 1994 but only now are we starting to see them on the wrists of people we meet. Naturally, as technology advanced and concepts reached consumers, we start to see smartwatches which can do all manner of things. One of the best reasons to own a smartwatch is undoubtedly the pedometer, its ability to count your steps.
Brands such as Fitbit market themselves as sport/activity tracking smart watches which monitor all manner of fitness related data, from your steps to your heart rate. The metrics recorded by these watches have a lot of influence on people, particularly when they “gamify” (the act of turning something into a game) them.
One app in particular for Samsung users places you in competition against every other user of the app in terms of how many steps you take. In addition to its health benefits, certain smartwatches are able to track your location in case of emergency and even monitor your vitals in the case that you are struck by illness and alert someone (or the police) to your condition and location.
Drones are perhaps an unexpected addition to this list. However as they are becoming cheaper and more available to consumers, the number of people heading outside to fly their drones rises. This, in addition to action cameras such as the GoPro, is giving people more of a reason to get outside and try a new activity or travel as well as pursuing the additional hobby of videography.
Personally, the use of GoPro’s has inspired me to travel and take on various hobbies such as go-karting, skiing, and rock climbing. This additional incentive of creating beautiful footage to look back on or show off to your friends is proving effective at getting people outside. Marketing for the DJI Mavic (drone) predominantly features rolling landscapes and beautiful scenes that its users have traveled to.
Similarly, GoPro takes a stance on living more active and full lives. Not only do these gadgets benefit those who already live these kinds of lifestyles but their marketing promises them to anyone who will buy one.
Most likely you heard in the last few years about PokemonGO, a game that had thousands if not millions of people walking the streets in order to catch virtual reality pets. An idea which has been played with frequently but never quite hit the mark found unprecedented success with this iteration.
The game required users to find items with which they could capture the Pokemon at various landmarks and areas around the place where they lived. Then, using a pedometer, encouraged people to walk in order to find these Pokemon. This caused countless people to get outdoors and walk around which in turn caused many of these people to meet whilst outside pursuing the same Pokemon.
For a while, the game caused a massive spike in an interaction of people that would otherwise have never met. Whilst the game itself was short-lived, it has opened the pathways for future games of a similar nature.
Smartphones are such a prominent feature of our daily lives that they draw the attention of everyone. Many suggest that smartphones with their access to social media are actually harming social interactions and stopping “real” conversations. However, these same people are perhaps not aware of the global reach of social media. Whether a person is actually socially inept, cannot find anyone who shares their hobbies or simply feels lonely, they now have a chance to meet someone anywhere in the world.
Gamers benefit from this the most as they are able to make long-lasting relationships with someone half the world away. One of my best friends only lives in the country beside mine, however, I would never have had the chance to meet him and maintain a friendship for years if it were not for social media.
Whilst a balance must be maintained, it is wrong to say that social media cannot provide a social fulfillment to those who utilize it correctly.
My final set of gadgets are a new take on an old favorite. Whilst children have ridden bicycles, skateboards, and scooters for years, the newer electronic models, like hoverboards are bringing them onto the streets in waves. Technology such as the mini segway balance boards are a hit with children and are featured more frequently on the streets. Whilst these are very comparable to their non-electronic counterparts, anything which encourages people to be outside and active is not to be looked down upon. Especially considering that many of these electric transportation devices are far easier and faster to use, even resulting in people using them to travel to work.
Whilst technology has its drawbacks, whilst some misuse gadgets and use them to replace all social interactions. This doesn’t mean that gadgets as a whole are a negative thing. Used correctly they can open up doors you never imagined to greater well being and health.
When you consider the practical applications of many of these gadgets and the benefits they can bring to many people, it’s easy to see how they can improve your health and well being. Consider the gadgets you use and the ways in which you use them. Are they your form of escapism or do you use them to live a fuller and happier lifestyle?