Monday April 22, 2019

Smartphone users risk becoming amnesiac

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Beware the ‘smartphone risk’

By NewsGram Staff Writer

In the era of technology with information of anything and everything available online, Google has become the new memory bank.

As per a survey conducted by Internet security solution provider, Kaspersky, almost half the world population uses the internet as an extension of their brains while 75 per cent people use it as a conduit to the information storage bank.

Conducted on more than 1,000 Indian respondents between June 23 and July 2, the survey surmises that almost half of the people are not using their own memory or that they are just not interested in remembering facts.

25 per cent respondents ‘strongly agreed’ that it was essential to just remember the source of the information, while 48 per cent ‘slightly agreed’ with the contention.

One justification for the memory crisis is the fact that there is an information overload in the overall scheme of things. Incredibly high digital communication has meant that much information flows through avenues such as Facebook, Twitter among other social media sites.

However, the survey also throws light on the start of a dangerous phenomenon; addiction.

“It is not just about reliance but rather something more sever, an addiction. The smartphone addiction may lead to amnesia, which should not be taken lightly.

It is very important to limit dependency on smartphones primarily because of its addictive properties,” Altaf Halde, MD at Kaspersky Lab said.

Further highlighting the scope of its pernicious effects, the survey says that smartphone dependency decreases with age, implying that youngsters are more prone to damaging their memory with unhindered smartphone usage.

However, the shift in memory source has not been tremendous. 55 per cent of people still choose to use their memory for remembering things while 31 per cent prefer the on-line route.

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UN: Geneva Can Improve the Health of Citizens Using Digital Technology

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people's health

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health, citizens, digital technology
FILE - A doctor uses a smartphone to take a photo of a child with facial deformity before surgery at the Vietnam Cuba hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its first guidelines on digital health intervention.

The U.N. agency said governments can improve the health of their citizens by using digital technology to make health systems more efficient and responsive to their patients. The United Nations said 51 percent of the world’s population has access to broadband internet service.

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health.

health
Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health. Pixabay

She told VOA the technology enables people, even in the remotest settings, to leapfrog into the development of a more effective, inclusive health system. With the use of mobile phones, computers and laptops, she said it is possible to bypass the intervening stages many countries have had to go through.

“So, a health worker in Congo can directly start using a mobile phone if the government is able to provide one to the health worker and get away from filling 30 paper registers, which occupy about one-third of front-line health workers time,” she added.

New recommendations

The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems.

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The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems. Pixabay

A WHO scientist specializing in digital innovations and research, Garrett Mehl, said the recommendations deal with issues such as birth notification.

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“Knowing that a baby has been born is critical to knowing how to provide vaccinations; knowing that the mother needs different post-natal care visits,” he said. “But without knowing that there was a birth that has happened, it is difficult to trigger those events in the health system.”

The guidelines also address privacy concerns.They have recommendations for ensuring that sensitive data, such as issues of sexual and reproductive health, are protected and not put at risk. (VOA)