You would be hard-pressed to go anywhere without seeing at least one person glued to their cell phone today. Almost every person on the planet owns a cell phone of some sort, and according to the Morningside Recovery Rehabilitation Center, there are approximately six billion cell phone subscriptions worldwide. Most people don’t just use cell phones for texts and calls anymore, either; phones constantly ding and ring with notifications from emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
Also, with the advent of apps for games, parents often give their children a cell phone in public places to keep them entertained and avoid acting up. While cell phones can help us stay in touch with one another, they also have a dark side to them that we should all be aware of. Cell phones emit radiation, as they are radiofrequency transmitters. Although they operate at low frequencies, excessive exposure to cell phones can cause long-term health problems that can seriously inhibit your quality of life.
Here’s what happens to your body when you stare at your cell phone too much:
Negatively affects emotions and can cause antisocial behaviors.
According to a study performed at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, participants felt negative feelings toward the person they were having a conversation with when a cell phone was visible. Researchers asked 34 different pairs of strangers to discuss both minor topics and important personal events that occurred in their lives. Half of the participants had a mobile device present while the others had a notebook out on the table.
The results showed that the people who discussed serious events in their lives with a notebook visible felt trusting and close to the stranger, unlike those who had a cell phone present.
This directly proves that cell phones can interfere with relationships, especially if people are having a heart-to-heart conversation. Not to mention, using cell phones excessively can promote antisocial behavior and cause people to lose valuable social skills.
It elevates stress levels in the body.
The incessant ringing and dinging of cell phones and our impulses to check these notifications can cause detrimental levels of stress within the body. A study performed at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that women who used their phones excessively were prone to sleep disturbances and stress, while high mobile use in men was linked to depression and sleep interruptions.
Constantly checking our phones has taken us out of the present moment and made us anxious about the future with thoughts of who will call or text us next, or if our boss might send us an important email soon. We have become slaves to our phones, but one way to reverse this behavior is to have set times each day to check your cell phone. Don’t deviate from the schedule, and you will soon see that your stress is more manageable, and you have a lot more free time to do other things you enjoy.
Weakens the immune system.
Did you know that cell phones can contain more germs and bacteria than those found on a toilet seat? According to a study performed at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, scientists took samples from 390 different cell phones and hands to measure bacteria levels. They found that 92 percent of phones had bacteria on them, as well as 82 percent of hands swabbed. 16 percent of cell phones and hands had E. Coli. However, you can lessen the amount of bacteria on your cell phone by simply using it less, and washing your hands more often.
Increases your risk of chronic pain.
According to studies done by researchers from Sweden, excessive texting in particular can cause long-term neck, back, and hand pain. Doing anything repetitively can irritate the tissues in the body, therefore causing inflammation, which in turn results in pain. Texting usually requires the thumbs, and inflammation of the basal joint at the base of the thumb can result in arthritis due to the wearing down of joints. Back and neck pain result from texting in a hunched-over position, which leads to poor posture. Many people have their phones at a 60 degree angle, which equates to approximately 60 pounds of pressure on your neck and spine.
To correct this, try holding your cell phone out straight in front of you, and make sure to stretch your neck and back muscles frequently.
Heightens your chances of experiencing vision problems.
While this one might not be as surprising, it is quite shocking that many people know about the correlation between vision problems and excessive use of phones and computers, yet do little to nothing about it. According to The Vision Council, upwards of 70 percent of Americans either don’t know or deny that they can experience vision problems from staring at screens for long periods of time.
Make sure to take frequent breaks from your cell phone, and try not to squint or strain your eyes when reading messages.