We’re currently more reliant than ever on our smartphones. Society is hooked on the ability to read news, spend and save money, and conduct business by the press of a touch-screen button.
The excessive use of these phones is more harmful than most people think. Whether you’ve acquired “text neck,” “cell phone elbow,” or “smartphone blindness,” you’re subject to the negative effects that your iPhone or Android are likely having on your health. Your phone is impacting your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing; which of these smartphone calamities are you falling victim to?
They’re destroying your vision
A Gigaom story on the correlation between smartphone use and vision found some concerning results. Your smartphone emits a blue light bright enough that you can see the screen in broad daylight, but it’s the effects of this light at night that are the issue. Direct exposure to blue light can cause damage to the retina.
The American Macular Degeneration Foundation warns that retinal damage caused by blue light may lead to macular degeneration, which causes the loss of central vision, or your ability to see what’s right in front of you.
It impacts your workout
Yes, your smartphone can track your steps and count your calories, but it can also deter you from your workout. A recent study published in the journal Performance Enhancement & Health found that texting while exercising impacted balance and stability by 45% compared to not using a phone, and talking on the phone made balance 19% worse.
While bad balance increases your potential for injury — you could fall off of the treadmill or roll your ankle — textercising also reduces your effectiveness while working out.
It affects your sleep cycle
Dr. Gregory Marcus conducted a study to determine the relationship between smartphone use and sleeping, and the results didn’t deliver good news for your Netflix-before-bed routine. Marcus knew that smartphone use increased in tandem with sleep deprivation rates.
“When we looked at smartphone use around the time when participants reported they went to bed, more smartphone use around that time in particular was associated with a longer time to fall asleep and worse sleep quality during the night,” said Marcus.
You’re having less sex because of it
Psychology professor Jean M. Twenge, MD, wrote a book on iGen and what the generation’s obsessive smartphone use means for their adult lives. Twenge claims people are having less sex since the dawn of the smartphone age.
Even more concerning is what HuffPost found is hiding underneath 20% of people’s sheets; their smartphones. One fifth of young adults reported to having used their phones during sex.
It makes you a reckless driver
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dedicates itself to eliminating these risky behaviors and increasing road safety. The iOS 11 iPhone update offers an extension of its Do Not Disturb feature which disables notifications, and therefore distractions once it senses you’re driving.
Your mental health is at risk
According to the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans had a cell phone by the end of 2012. Twenge found a correlation between this and increasing loneliness, which according to her studies rose around 2012 as well. “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades,” she writes in a story in The Atlantic, a crisis she says is largely because of smartphones.
It’s wrecking your attention span
The Telegraph reported that according to scientists, smartphones have left humans with such a short attention span that even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer. Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms. The results showed that the current average human attention span is eight seconds, a four-second decrease from 2000.
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