It isn’t unusual to see medical professionals telling people they need to spend less time on their phones or away from their computers. Eye-strain, RSI, back-ache, and a number of mental conditions can be linked to prolonged exposure to technology and the blue light emitted from our screens.
And there is the massive social movement that aims to encourage us to step away from our screens and engage with the world around us, as our forefathers had to. And these people are often met with criticism. Particularly from the younger generations who have only known this digital world.
So why are we now seeing a stream of medical professionals recommending people start investing in smartwatches? Contrary to their usual stance of advising us to cut down on our technology use, they now want us to take it a step further.
For those who are unaware, a smartwatch is exactly what it sounds like. A smartphone-style watch. They look like a normal wristwatch and strap on just the same. But the clock face is actually a screen and it functions similarly to a modern phone. Scroll through apps. Bluetooth connection. And they even display the time, fulfilling their primary function as a watch.
They are extremely useful for anyone who leads a busy lifestyle. You can check messages and emails on them, get live weather updates and some even offer facetime functionality. But there is one function that is responsible for the sudden surge of recommendations from doctors.
A few years ago you may recall FitBits became all the rage. They made the perfect Xmas present and it seemed everyone and their mother was out sporting a sleek FitBit. And they received a lot of positive press as they were encouraging people to take their health more seriously and exercise regularly. Some medical companies even began promoting FitBits to encourage their use. For a brief time, you could get FitBit supplies at the face med store and other medical suppliers.
Some studies have looked into this phenomenon and have suggested that the data recorded and shown by a FitBit almost turns working out into a game. And humans are more likely to engage with something when they can see results in metric form.
But, of course, once a workout was done and dusted a lot of people would simply remove their FitBit for the day. This is where the smartwatches come into play.
The biggest upside to a smartwatch is they are designed to be worn throughout the day. Aside from their social functions, most smartwatches also contain all the tracking equipment as a FitBit.
This is the biggest reason medical professionals are encouraging people to invest in smartwatches. The ability to track your own biometric data throughout the day is fantastically useful to a doctor. If you ever found yourself falling ill or are injured, the data can be compiled and provided to the hospital to give a much more detailed medical history. This will allow for a greater degree of certainty when making a diagnosis.
Another useful function is that these watches can alert emergency services if you are in need of help. Gone are the days of needing to call for an ambulance. Even now we are hearing stories of people who have been saved by their smartwatches knowing they were having a heart attack before the patient did.
It’s no wonder doctors are encouraging people to wear a smartwatch as often as they can. But there is a downside, as with anything. Firstly, they are extremely expensive at the moment. Being a luxury item, it is going to be a long time before we see them come down to more affordable prices.
There is also the argument raging about how our devices track and monitor us. In our society today it is nearly impossible to do anything or go anywhere without being tracked. So some argue these devices are just a step towards giving our bodies over to the cooperate machine.
We hope a day will come when everyone can make use of the safety a smartwatch can provide. Until then, I will stick to my FitBit.