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Hazards of the Electronic Age

Poor grades and stress can be side effects

The Internet provides college students with a wealth of information at their fingertips, but a recent survey of 570 American college students shows that up to 15 percent of students get so distracted by chatrooms and e-mailing friends that their studies suffer. College freshmen seem to be particularly prone to Internet addiction, the Electronic Telegraph reports.

Electronic devices even allow parents to track the whereabouts of their kids almost anywhere on the globe. Vigilant parents who once installed baby monitors or nanny cams have moved up to tracking devices and Internet monitoring software. A New York Times article reprinted in the Australian paper The Age reveals that "Big Brother" actually turns out to be mom and dad.

Grownups aren't immune to the electronic age, either, warns Toronto-area physician David Posen, who specializes in stress management. Portable computers, cell phones and even car faxes put pressure on people to stay in touch with friends or business associates around the clock. In his column in C-Health, Posen explains how devices that were supposed to liberate us have been forged into an "electronic leash" that never lets us get away.

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