Information Technology Effects on National Health Taufiq Hail Ghilan Al-Madhagy Author Seminar in IT School of Computing, CAS UUM, Sintok 06010. Malaysia Information Technology has involved deeply in our daily life. Since the early 80s, it starts to crawl in ourlife and almost took the control of almost all of our life. Technology has changed a lot, and many advances and im-provements took place in the last three decades. It started with the mainframes from IBM, the large sized storagedevices and media, the terminals which connected to a central machines to let it process data, the mechanical partsof the computers that was essentially part of the early generations of computers, and finally to the great develop-ments in the manufacturing of the microprocessors and memory chips. Now let us look through the pros and cons of this dominant power on our course of life, our behavioral as-pects, and health issues connected with these machines. As we all know that computers and computerized devices are almost covering lots of house belongingssuch as the telephones, the T.V. sets with USB and internet connections, the mobile phones, the microwaves, thecars, the washing machines, and many and may things surrounding our life. So if all these are surrounding our life,do they really have a negative impact on our health? What are some of the impacts that are clear to notice with ourchildren and the surrounding people? Are there any good effects of IT in our life and society? Let us dig further toknow more. Some researchers are very concerned about the negative impact of the technology on the behavior ofpeople. Take for example the mobile phones. When they first appeared in the late nineties they were so expensiveand certain categories of the community can afford to buy. After around ten years, almost everyone has a mobile inhis pocket or bag. The people used to pay visits for their neighbors, families, and friends to sit with them, discuss matters,and know about their news and concerns, and to have fun which relaxes the body and the soul of a person to releasethe negative power of the body. Now the behavior of people has changed a lot and people only picks up the phone, the mobile, and at theirfinger tips they press buttons and then they exchange the greetings and news with whom they want with no directinteraction or face to face body language. Normally, the conversation takes few minutes to more than thirty minutes of discussion depending on thetopic they are talking about. Many people, of this kind of long conversations, complain from headache and pain inthe ears, some have the feeling of an electric power spreading in their bodies and a feeling of inconvenience, andothers started to have more and more stress and their blood pressure starts to jump and heart beats scales up. I have read one e-mail sent to me telling me of a strange experiment that opened my mind of the negativeand danger impact of IT and smart phones, which are basically a small computer within your hand palm. In this ex-periment, two mobile phones stands facing each other and a glass of water is between them, then an egg is put in-side this glass for 24 hours. What was the result? The egg, which is full of protein and in a liquid state, turned into asoft outer part, the eggshell, and the inner part turned to be of hard substance. That is really shocking and addles thebrain especially knowing that most of the parts of our brains are consisted from protein; imagine what the impact ofthis magnetic field on our brain and what the consequences on our health are! I have read some articles in the internet about some psychological researchers, who are observing humanattitudes changes, showed their concerns of the children who perform many tasks at the same time, i.e. eating while
talking with mobile phones or using computers, dancing and moving their bodies while doing assignments withcomputers, working with computers and sending sms and listening to music at the same time. In their opinion, usingcomputers teaches the child to do many things at the same time, which we call it multitasking, but this has a side ef-fect of the focus of the child in his morning or evening classes. I have my own experience with this behavior in oneof my kids. He is almost 9 years and is addicted to computer, e.g. watching animation and playing games. At thebeginning I felt that he became cleverer and I thought that his intelligence become more and more especially whenhe focuses on mental things. On the other hand, his teachers complained that he had daydreaming and lost focus inhis morning class. Since then, I started to observe his usage of computers and asked him to go playing outside. The psychological effect, in my opinion, is quiet clear through the usage of technology and spending thetimes in front of the screens of the computer. People tend to remain stick to the computers, and lost the intension tohave physical contact and face to face interaction. There is something ironic to say, in the past we used to askpeople to solve any problem and have to discuss matters with humans, nowadays we dial the phones then there is ananswering machine instructing to press different numbers to reach to your final destination to solve your problem.This gets into nerves of a person especially when a person has to press different numbers while it is better and easi-er to be answered by humans to identify the problem and to guide you to the proper solution without stress! The technology obviously made many changes to the industrial sector. In the past, many people used towork with large numbers in factories; now the robotic machines are taking over the work done by people. Thiscaused a lot of recession and many people has lost their jobs, remained homeless/hopeless, and started to have psy-chological and physical health problems i.e. heart problems. In addition to that, the revolution to manufacture thenew computerized devices led to harm our nature, and consequently our health. We have now the ozone gab, andthe global warming which threats our earth, and lots of gases are spread out in the air to pollute not only the atmos-phere, but also the water sources on earth. The increase of technology use and advancement led to a high capacityof production; consequently the consumption is also increased in our daily habits. Creating consumption societymade our global problems more and more difficult to solve as many people are suffering from high rates of unem-ployment. I cannot say that only disadvantages do exist on information technology usage and have negative effect onthe health of the nation. There are so many positive aspects that improved the health of the people. Take for exam-ple, the historical advancement in the medical appliances that scans the body and give a clear picture of the internalproblems that the patients suffer from. That led to give the proper medication for people suffering from differentsymptoms, e.g. cancer, heart problems, kidneys illness, and so on. These scanners are totally computerized and con-trolled by high tech IT systems. Another example is the medical equipments using laser to make precise operations in the eyes and differentparts of the brain. For sure these advancements in information technology have improved the health and the under-standing of the body and its illness. Here, I should not forget to mention that the IT systems has given the medical sector a great help in orga-nizing the history of ill people and archiving all the records of patients in a way to ease the treatment and track thechanges of the illness history. That improved the process of treatment and gave a positive impact on the lives of pa-tients. Finally, I do believe that everything has pros and cons and if we have benefit from something there shouldbe a sacrifice on the other side. Nothing comes without a price and technology gave us relaxation in performingsome tasks in our daily life, but created other illness related of extra relaxation of our bodies.