The average person spends a combined 2 hours and 51 minutes a day on their smartphone. About 22% of users check their phones every two minutes, with another 51% stealing a glance every hour or so. That is heavy mobile use, way above what is recommended.
Smartphones have become all-in-one devices that are call centers, mini-hospitals, entertainment spots, shopping stores, and a host of other services. We can do almost everything using that small gadget. This continued over-reliance on smartphones has some severe health complications. Here are some that stand out the most.
Smartphones are getting bigger every year. They have evolved from 4-inch gadgets into 6-inch monsters with very bright displays. Even with the use of an anti-glare cover, there is no escaping the negative impact of staring at phone screens for long periods. The bright light not only decreases sleep quality, but it increases the amount of time you take to fall asleep.
Digital Eye Strain
Insomnia is not the only side-effect of staring at bright screens; over time, your eyes will develop something called digital eye strain where your eyes find it hard to adjust to normal light after using a phone for long. Staring at a screen for more than 2 hours is dangerous and leads to itchy eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and general eye fatigue. Many heavy users of smartphones usually end up needing eyeglasses within two years.
It is estimated that the average phone has more than 25,000 bacteria per square inch of surface. To put this into proper context, a toilet seat has about 1,200 bacteria per square inch. A phone is a walking harbinger of all types of diseases known to man. Every second you hold your phone with bare hands, you are exposing yourself to all forms of diseases that can gain access to your body.
At any given time, there are about 660,000 drivers who are attempting to use their cellphones while they drive. In America alone, there are 1.6 million road crashes that are a direct result of using cell phones from behind the wheel. That is 1 out of every 4 accidents, a very damning statistic. Smartphones are huge distractions that do not blend well with a focus-intensive activity like driving. Juggling both at the same time always ends in disaster.
Thumb arthritis is a real thing. It is a condition that occurs when you start experiencing sharp pains at the base of the thumb after excessive texting and typing on the phone. In the beginning, the pain usually subsides when you put the phone down. However, after a while, it lingers on, and eventually, it becomes permanent. Once you get thumb arthritis, you will be forced to rely on pain medication for the rest of your life since the condition does not have any cure.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
The most common position adopted by heavy smartphone users is the one where they lean on their elbows while texting. This exerts pressure on the elbow, causing the compression of a part called the ulnar nerve. With time, this leads to a numbing pain and a tingling sensation in the outside areas of the arms towards the small finger. This is a condition called the cubital tunnel syndrome.
Before things get out of hand, avoid applying too much pressure against your elbows. If you cannot avoid leaning on them, then place a cushion under them, at least.
Another painful discomfort in the neck area that is caused by excessive leaning as you use the phone. When you spend the better part of your day hunched over your phone, the neck starts to get strained. You may not notice it while you are it, once you put the phone down is when the pain kicks in. The best way to counter the tech neck is to assume an upright or a laid back position when using the phone. Cutting down on the time you spend scrolling can also help a lot.
Spending too much time on social media can have a huge toll on your mental health. Cyberbullying, coupled with feelings of inadequacy when you compare yourself to people you consider to be living the good life, can push someone to the brink of suicide.
Smartphone induced depression is exceptionally high in teens because it is the age where they are undergoing a lot of emotional and physical changes. It is a volatile stage full of peer pressure, and anything small can push them to the edge. The best way to deal with this is through therapy and cutting down on the time they spend on their phones.
High Blood Pressure
Being in a constant state of anxiety and agitation is one of the side effects of spending too much time online. Access to the internet exposes you to depressing news like murder, wars, people dying of famine. All these can cause your blood pressure to spike, especially if you already have hypertension.
You can help stabilize yourself by avoiding these trigger sites. You can also benefit greatly from using a home blood pressure kit to keep your hypertension in check. You can click here to check out the best blood pressure machines for home use.
Anything good can turn into a health hazard if used in the wrong way. Smartphones have transformed human lives, injecting convenience in our daily activities. However, they are to be used in moderation. There’s more to a day than spending half of it staring at the 6-inch gadget. Start regulating your phone use now to avoid trouble later.