Mobile devices whether phone or tablet have become core devices in ensuring that we have the ability to comminicate at our finger tips, be that calling friends, updating our facebook status, putting pictures of our very nice lunch on pinterest or putting the world to right in 140 characters on twitter.
Mobile devices – How much time do you spend on yours?
A recent study has revealed that in 2015 UK adults will spend an average of 2 hours, 26 minutes each day with mobile devices. You may consider that doesn’t sound like a lot but it amounts to 888 hours or 37 days a year that people will spend looking at their phones.
In the United States, it is even worse with an average daily time spent on mobile devices of 5 hours, 46 minutes or 2036 hours or a massive 84 days a year.
But for all the ease of communication, too much time spent on mobile devices can have negative impacts on your health.
Mobile devices – Are they a danger to our health
In this type of post you’re probably expecting me to mention the mobile device radiation controversy. It has been suggested that using mobile devices leads to a great amount of radiation exposure. However, this idea is controversial and continues to be the subject of ongoing debate by the experts. In addition to conflicting reports on radiation and mobile devices, some studies haven’t found a link at all. Furthermore, the National Cancer Institute states that mobile devices are safe to use. However, more research is needed before everyone is convinced they’re safe in the long-term.
However there are more health issues that we have to be aware of, some are mentioned below so that you can mitigate them when using your mobile devices:
Eye damage. Smartphones can affect your eyes in several ways. As you stare at the mobile device screen, you’re not blinking, so you can develop dry eyes. In addition, the small screen strains your eyes as you read and try to see details in the graphics.
- To lessen these effects, remember to blink when reading texts and adjust the fonts to a larger size.
Germs. Mobile devices can turn into germ factories. They quickly accumulate bacteria that can cause illness. A study from the University of London found that 82 percent of mobile phone users had bacteria on their hands, and 92 percent of their Smartphones had bacteria.
- How often do you clean your smartphone to remove grime and germs? If you answered never, then you’re not alone. Smartphones tend to be forgotten on the cleaning to-do lists.
Stress. Researchers have linked smartphone usage to increased stress. A study, titled “Beginning the workday yet already depleted? Consequences of late-night smartphone use and sleep,” found that mobile phones can make people feel more stress. In addition, mobile phones disturb sleep and may contribute to depression.
- To minimize this danger, avoid using your phone or tablet for several hours before you go to bed. Leave it in a different room from the one you sleep in.
Back pain. Hunching over your mobile device throughout the day can affect your back.
- As you look down at your mobile device, you bend your neck and put pressure on your spine. Researchers have found that this puts 60 pounds of pressure on the spine and can create issues.
- If you’re sitting and slumping over your mobile device at home or at work, then back pain can still be an issue. 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.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. The hundreds of messages and texts you send throughout the day can affect your hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome shows damage in your nerves and muscles, making you feel pain, numbness, or tingling in your hands, thumb, and fingers. You may also feel weakness in your hands and have a tendency to drop things while trying to hold them.
- The syndrome is usually caused by repetitive motion and strain, such as in typing. So send fewer texts!
Elbow pain. It’s possible to develop other nerve damage, as well, from using your phone. The condition is nicknamed “cellbow” and is caused by holding your phone with a bent arm. Doctors refer to it as cubital tunnel syndrome and see more cases every day.
- To help protect your elbows, lessen your cell phone use, rotate which hand you use to hold your phone, and take advantage of the speaker by setting your phone down on a desk or table when you’re making calls.
Street Lamp Nose. Okay so I made this one up however we have all seen it, the individual walking down the street, so engrossed in their mobile device that they walk into a street light or sign, or other pedestrians and as funny as it may seem to others the risk of serious injury is high. Not to mention those that step out in to the road…
Your mobile phone helps you stay connected with work, school, family, and friends. Unfortunately, it also comes with several negative health impacts. Get in the habit of using these tips regularly to minimize your risks.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor.