Smartphones can be useful. It’s hard to imagine a lifestyle without them. But they can also hurt you. How can smartphones hurt you? Let me count the ways.
Smartphones can hurt your eyes.
While you’re staring at your phone, you’re not blinking. Before long, you develop dry eyes. Without adequate tears, you have an increased risk of eye infection and damage to the surface of your eyes. In addition, trying to read a small screen and see the details in the graphics can cause eye strain which over a period of time can lead to a variety of vision problems.
To ease the strain on your eyes, remember to blink when reading texts and adjust the fonts to a larger size.
Smartphones can spread harmful bacteria and viruses.
Cell phones can quickly turn into germ factories. We speak into them regularly, depositing germs via droplets, use them while we eat, depositing of nutrients that help microbes thrive, and even take them into the bathroom where they can be contaminated with fecal bacteria.
To make matters worse, most of us take our cell phones with us almost everywhere, carrying them in pockets or handbags where the warm, temperature-controlled environment helps pathogens survive. Numerous studies suggest that they can even be “Trojan horses” that contribute to community transmission in epidemics and pandemics.
To minimize the risk to yourself and others, clean your smartphone daily with disinfectant to remove grime and germs.
Smartphones can increase stress, anxiety and depression.
A study entitled “Beginning the Workday Yet Already Depleted? Consequences of Late-night Smartphone Use and Sleep,” found that smartphones can make people feel more stress. In addition, a growing body of research indicates that young people hooked on smartphones are at increased risk of depression and lonliness.
To minimize this danger, avoid using your cell phone for several hours before you go to bed. Leave it in a different room from the one you sleep in.
Smartphones can hurt your neck and back.
As you look down at your cell phone throughout the day, you bend your neck and put as much as 60 pounds of unnatural pressure on your spine. This position strains your neck and lower back at the same time. Over time, it’s possible to develop painful conditions such as herniated discs because of bulging in the spine.
To protect your neck and back, learn how to text like a T-Rex. Keep your elbows to your sides and hold the phone up in front of your your face so that you can read it while keeping your head straight.
Prolonged smartphone use can cause cause a variety of hand and elbow injuries.
Fingers, thumbs and hands can develop calluses, pain, cramping and numbness from excessive pressure caused by holding a phone and texting. You can also damage the nerves in your elbow from using your phone too much. This condition is nicknamed “cell phone elbow” and is caused by holding your phone with a bent arm over a period of time. Doctors refer to it as cubital tunnel syndrome and see more cases of it every day.
Give your hands and elbows a break by lessening your cell phone time and rotating which hand you use to hold your phone. When making or receiving calls, set your phone down and use the speaker instead of holding the phone up to your ear whenever you can.
Using your smartphone while driving can kill you.
Don’t think it can’t happen to you. It can! I had a friend who once thought that way and she died in a one car rollover accident while texting and driving. If you must use your smartphone while driving, do it in a way that minimizes the risk. Make sure it is mounted in a secure place at eye level on the dash or windshield and use a hands free bluetooth device to carry on conversations. Turn on the “do not disturb while driving” feature to silence text notifications so you are not tempted to text a reply.
If your phone falls on the floor while you are driving, do NOT try to retrieve while your car is in motion. Pull off the road and come to a full STOP in a safe place before reaching down to pick it up.
What about cell phone radiation?
A lot of research has been done on this subject with test tubes, animals, and humans and the results have been mixed, with no definitive proof that cell-phone radiation harms human health, but also unable to completely clear it of any potential risk. To stay on the safe side, keep your phone away from close contact with your body, especially your vital organs, as much as possible. Use the speaker when possible to keep from holding the phone close to your head.
In Conclusion: Our cell phones help us stay connected with work, school, family, and friends. But remember that convenience comes at a price. Make sure you know the risks as well as the benefits of smartphone use. Keep these tips in mind and practice them to stay safe, healthy and connected.
To Your health!
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