Cell phones are now common throughout all age groups – from children to young adults to the aged, cell phones have become an inevitable part of our daily life. Even if you aren’t using your cell phone all day, chances are you check for messages, calls or notifications every few minutes or hours. A report on facts about smartphones in June 2017 showed that about three-quarters of U.S. adults (77%) say they own a smartphone. 46% of the owners admitted to feeling like they cannot live without their phones.
With cell phones becoming this common, several studies have also surfaced that talk about the health risks cell phones pose to people. Here are five reasons your cell phone may be adversely affecting your overall health and wellbeing:
1- Mental Health
It is tempting to always be in touch with the world through the internet and social media, but studies suggest this could be adding to your stress. By having all the information we need at our fingertips, we are victim to a phenomena called information overload. This overwhelms the brain with too much information at the same time, causing an increase in stress levels.
In a report we found out the APA polled about 3,500 adults in an online questionnaire during August 2016 and found that people who are always looking at their digital devices—called “constant checkers”—reported higher levels of stress compared to people who spend less time interacting with their gadgets.
Moreover, the habit of constantly keeping an eye out for notifications and messages can add to anxiety and stress. Studies have showed a correlation between high cell phone usage and stress, difficulty in sleeping, anxiety, and depression. Several professionals suggest a social media and internet hiatus to patients with complaints of insomnia, depression and anxiety. To avoid the toll cell phone usage can take on your stress levels, make sure you fix a time for checking your notifications and messages. Also make sure that you avoid all screens before bedtime – this is proven to help with sleep. It is also a good idea to turn your cell phone before you get in bed.
1- Eyesight and Sleep
Cell phones adversely affect your eyesight due to digital eye strain. Since the screen of your cell phone is small, you are more likely to strain your eyes or squint while using your phone or reading on it. Most people use their phone on maximum brightness, and that can cause eyesight problems as well.
Moreover, nearly three quarters of young people are said to fall asleep each night with their phones by their side, and the blue light emitted by phones is scientifically known to affect the production of the sleep-inducing hormone (melatonin) in our brains, hence adversely affecting our sleep.
One way of avoiding vision problems due to cell phone is make sure the brightness and font size are at a comfortable level. Moreover, avoid using the phone with the lights off. For making sure you get better, improved sleep at night, one of the things experts recommend is avoiding using your phone at bed time.
2- Chronic Pains
Constant use of your hands when scrolling or excessive typing on your phone can cause joint pain and muscle strain. Your wrist, shoulder, neck and back are susceptible to chronic pains if you excessively use your cell phone. Using the cell phone too much can also cause inflammation in joints which can turn into a long-term health problem for you. Not just adults, chronic pain is known to be an issue in school-going children, too, making it difficult for them to carry out even simpler tasks like going to class, sitting at a desk, concentrating on assignments, walking to the cafeteria. Due to this, long absenteeism is noticed in many children. Not only should they be made aware of this problem and kept a check on to ensure they do not use mobile devices too much, schools should also take initiatives like implementing telehealth in order to be able to help the kids better with chronic pain and other chronic conditions.
3- Weakened Immunity
Excessive cell phone usage has been linked with weakened immunity according to studies. Considering that the older you get, the weaker your immunity tends to become, it is important for people of all ages to work on improving their immunity through essential multi vitamins, a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and preventing whatever causes it to decrease. Cell phones can very easily be carriers for all kinds of germs and bacteria, transferring them from your hands to your face, ears and mouth. By the end of the day, a cell phone that has been used through the day has been studied to harbor more germs than a public toilet seat.
As terrifying as it sounds, studies have found fecal matter being transferred from one person to another through shared cell phones too. Viral diseases like flu are very easily transferred from one person to another if they share a cell phone as well. To avoid sharing germs through cell phones, make sure you wipe your phone screen with a mild hand sanitizer. This will kill most germs. However, it is suggested to not share cell phones as they can easily transfer germs and viral diseases from one person to another.
Next time you have unexplained pains in your neck and back, think about cutting down on cell phone usage. To avoid the risk of chronic pains when using your cell phone, make sure your posture is correct. If you move around multitasking while also using your phone, you are more prone to muscle and joint pains. Using the phone in bed can also cause a wide range of chronic pains depending on your posture.
While you may think your cell phone keeps you connected to other people and the rest of the world, it is very likely that you are getting out of touch with your surroundings while delving into the virtual world. Using cell phones in social settings can cause a very negative impact on how you are perceived. It is considered very rude for a person to be using their cell phone in situations where they could be interacting with other people. To avoid becoming the odd one out in social situations, put your phone on silent or turn it off and resist the temptation to check for notifications. Focus on talking to the people around you and observing your surroundings. Not only is it good for you, it also helps other people perceive you positively.
Cell phone usage is inevitable in today’s world, but keeping in mind all the adverse effects it can have on both children and adults, we can work on eliminating them and using cell phones in a healthy way only.
James Crook is a passionate blogger who loves to write on health and fitness related topics. Currently, he is a working as a blogger for a telemedicine app ‘Mend Family’. Follow @jamescrook911 for more updates.