Electronically Fit or Tracked

Recently, I saw a social media post, which mentioned exactly how many steps someone had taken while on a vacation. When asked by someone else, how the individual knew how far they had walked, the person commented that their companions’ smart phone had kept track of the distance covered.

At first glance, it sounds rather terrific, in this day and age when we are being bombarded by media, healthcare professionals and even politicians wives, to get moving. Our telephone can tell us exactly how much we are doing to reach a goal, which the phone will also help you set.

So what exactly does it cost, to be able to show your doctor that you have walked the demanded million steps? The price may be much higher than you think; it is not just the cost of the phone or application, but rather your privacy.

If your phone or some other wearable electronics is keeping track of your blood pressure, how many calories you consume and burn, what kind of restaurants you are frequenting, how many hours you sleep, steps you have climbed, your pulse, and dictates goals for health, who exactly, besides you is monitoring those statistics, and what will they do with all of that personal information?

You must understand that you are adding very private information into a database, and allowing a great many people access to this data. Initially, it may simply be used to help you lose that last ten pounds, or to regulate your sleep schedule; and perhaps you have already accepted that the use of such products will impact the advertisers who reach out to you, but what happens when our health insurance providers decide this information can and should be used to dictate the rates we pay for insurance or even if we are eligible for insurance?

As a society we are easily seduced by the convenience of technology, which is designed to make our life easier, faster, and more efficient. Personally, I could not imagine living without my smart phone nor do I think anyone should. However, technology is a tool that we must embrace without surrendering to its allure; we must master it and not be mastered by it. Thus ask yourself is there any other way to keep track of those steps you are taking, without becoming another piece of data in someone else’s lab? Stay Connected, but stay in control.

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