Smartphones and Your Health – Are Mobile Phones Harmful?
Smartphones have changed our lives. And mobile phone subscriptions had already reached 6 billion in 2011, according to the International Telecommunication Union.
Such abundant mobile phone usage compels us to ask the basic questions: are mobile phones dangerous; do smartphones affect our health; what are smartphone addiction side effects?
Smartphones and health; are a deep topic, and everything is explained here.
Smartphones are Active Carriers of Germs
Smartphones are essential to us because they carry important data and let us do many tasks that help our personal, private, business, and social life. That’s why everyone carries their phones everywhere, even in the toilets.
Research on smartphones and health has shown that one out of six mobile phones carry fecal matter because their owner doesn’t wash their hands after using the toilet.
Also, researchers found that E-Coli bacteria are often present on most smartphones, which causes fever, diarrhea, and vomiting.
In short, smartphones host colonies of germs that can make you ill. Thus, scientists recommend wiping your smartphones with alcohol patches once or twice a day to remove the chances of contamination.
Does your mobile data bundle expire too soon? Then, your apps are using background data. Here’s a complete guide on how to turn off background data.
Are Smartphones Addictive?
Smartphone and health: have you examined your smartphone usage habits? You respond to every notification. Now and then, you consume social media content. While lying on your bed, you use your smartphone until you fall asleep.
All these signs prove one thing: smartphones are addictive. That’s why it’s better to think critically and change your habits. Otherwise, you may lose productivity and full focus on your professional and personal life.
How Are They Affecting Our Physical Health?
Research on smartphones and health indicates that smartphones are degrading our physical health.
When you are on your smartphone, you never know how time passes by while you are sitting or lying. As a result, smartphones reduce your physical activity. You don’t walk enough and skip workouts because it feels good to stay using your smartphone.
When you have low physical activity, your body mass increases, and you don’t burn your calories. And it leads to several health hazards, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and decreased muscle mass.
Smartphones and devices can expose your kids to inappropriate content. Here’s a complete guide on implementing parental control on iPhone and iPad.
Effects on Brain and Focusing Capabilities
When you have a smartphone within your range, you are in a situation where your brain must decide whether to pick up the phone or not. In other words, smartphones are continuous distractions. As a result, you cannot have full focus on the task at hand.
Smartphones lower your attention span and hurdle you from performing deep work, as well as becoming ultra-productive in your professional life.
Research on smartphones and health also shows that abundant smartphone usage in children causes learning difficulties.
Watch Your Neck
Smartphone addiction can create severe problems for your neck, mainly because your neck is mostly in an awkward position when you are texting or calling.
Have you held your smartphone between your shoulder and ear while performing other tasks? Do you bend your neck while texting for a long time? Then, you have felt the strain on your neck often. It can also lead to spasms and neck injuries.
That’s why do not hold your neck in awkward positions while using your smartphone. You can also do exercises to relieve your neck’s stress and increase flexibility.
Does your kid have an Android device? Here’s a complete guide on implementing parental control on Android.
Blue Light Can Be Harmful
Smartphones emit shorter wavelength blue light that causes serious damage. In fact, blue light destroys your circadian rhythm.
Research on smartphones and health shows that blue light contributes to several health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more.
Spending too much time on your smartphone after sunset or in the dark will create sleep problems for you. When you have a sleep disorder, it upsets your routine, and you cannot be 100% productive in your work.
So, leave your smartphone at least two hours before going to bed. Also, try not to use it in the dark.
Texting or Talking While Driving
You are 23 times more likely to crash when texting and driving. Texting usually takes 5 seconds of your attention while driving. During that window, you can crash your car into another one or go off the road and hit an obstruction. So, never text while driving, even if it is voice texting.
You are four times more likely to crash when you call while driving. Every year, over one million accidents happen due to calling while driving. Among all car accidents, 20 % occur due to hopping on a call while driving. So, if you have an urgent call, stop on the side and attend.
How Are They Affecting Our Mental Health?
Research on smartphones and health indicates that excessive use of smartphones is associated with depression, anxiety, OCD, and ADHD.
Excessive smartphone usage also links to:
- Poor cognitive-emotion regulation
- Impaired cognitive function
- Addiction to social networking
- Low esteem
In short, excessive smartphone usage changes your brain and creates psychiatric and emotional problems.
Smartphone addiction leads to a mental crash, which can hinder your professional life and create problems in your personal life.
You may be playing a game for hours, scrolling social media, watching videos, or doing any activity on your smartphone. Such actions create information overload in your mind. At first, you’ll suffer from anxiety and depression. Later, you may have a nervous breakdown if you don’t cure your smartphone addiction.
So, use your smartphone as a tool to help you in life rather than a device that enslaves you and slowly degrades your mental health.
Limiting your screen time by using apps and paying attention to stop all the negative things you do on your smartphone is wise.
Do Smartphones Cause Cancer?
There are many rumors among the masses about smartphone usage and cancer. Some people believe that electromagnetic waves from smartphones cause cancer and damage to DNA. However, no evidence supports such claims.
Instead, research shows that radio waves from smartphones are weak and cannot alter DNA. The best these waves can do is to heat your body. Other than that, there is nothing to worry about.
In short, smartphone usage does not pose any risk of cancer.
Thumb Arthritis and Texting
Thumb arthritis is when you feel tenderness at the base of your thumb and pain. Texting is not the cause of thumb arthritis, but it increases its symptoms.
If you already have thumb arthritis, you’ll always feel pain while holding your phone. Unfortunately, there is no cure for thumb arthritis. But several medications can help you lessen the pain.
What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Have your ring and small finger become numb while using the phone, and you feel tingling? It occurs when your ulnar nerve becomes compressed when you lean your elbow against a solid surface while using your phone. In technical terms, such a condition is called cubital tunnel syndrome.
You can avoid cubital tunnel syndrome if you don’t bend your elbow for too long when your phone is on your ear or lean on your elbow while texting.
Taking breaks from using your phone often and using hands-free while calling is best. So, you don’t have to bend your elbow in an awkward position for a long time.
Bad for Eyesight
Research on smartphones and health shows that an average person spends 4 to 6 hours daily on a smartphone. That’s 4 to 6 hours of exposure to blue light with a short wavelength.
Such exposure can lead to macular degeneration.
Blue light bypasses the pupil and cornea and falls directly to the retina. As a result, it affects your vision and kills photoreceptor cells.
Remember, cells in your eye do not regenerate. It means that if there is damage, your body cannot replace it with new cells.
So, it’s best to use your smartphone at small intervals and take breaks. So, you can protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to blue light.
Smartphones Affecting Social Connection
Smartphones have decreased the quality of our social interactions. When you meet a person and discuss something, you convey your heart entirely and have the response of the other person immediately. During such interactions, participants have empathy for each other.
On the other hand, when you communicate using a smartphone, there is always an interruption, and participants in the conversation do not have a high level of empathy.
Also, due to smartphones, we cannot make solid social connections where participants care for each other. Moreover, today, people neglect people around them and pay attention to their smartphones. As a result, our attention goes primarily to our virtual connections rather than real connections.
Furthermore, smartphones have created distance among family members because we spend most of our time on virtual communication instead of real face-to-face conversation.
Smartphones have become necessary tools for us, and we cannot escape them. Yet, their use must be under a limit where smartphones do not hurdle our professional and personal life. Also, we should bound ourselves to use smartphones for only necessary things, such as communication, banking, and necessary browsing. So, we can remain sane and don’t have a mental crash due to information overloading.
Here’s an in-depth guide on how smartphones affect our health.
Chris Evan was born in Quebec and raised in Montreal, except for the time when he moved back to Quebec and attended high school there. He studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. He began writing after obsessing over books.