Smartphones make our lives easier but the side-effects of smartphone usage are a very real and present danger in enjoying them. Are you permanently attached to your smartphone and constantly check it for updates? Every time you have that phone in your hand, you can actually be damaging your health. This article looks at the side-effects of smartphone usage and how you can protect yourself and your family.
How do Cell Phones Affect Our Health
We all know that cell phones can cause a myriad of health issues – from cancer-causing radiation, to carpal tunnel syndrome. While cell phones have been around for a couple of decades now, smartphones have been around far less. That means we are just now beginning to uncover the long-term affects of cell phone use and what it means for our health. As moms, some of these health effects impact not only us, but also our children as more and more kids are using cell phones and tablets.
How to combat side-effects of smartphone usage
1. Radiation Exposure
Some people say the biggest side-effect from our cell phones and tablets is radiation. This is largely up for debate due to the lack of time humans have been exposed to smart phones. Smartphones haven’t been around long enough to fully know the long-term effects and if smart phone radiation is harmful. Although some say smart phones are indeed harmful to children.
To protect yourself and your child, the best solution is to limit your smartphone exposure. This means having designated times to use the devices. Use airplane mode as much as possible and don’t sleep with it by your head.
2. Neck Damage
One of the most common side-effects of smartphone usage is neck damage. You may be adding extra stress to your neck by looking down as you type.
Medical professionals have noticed that people are complaining more about neck pain, and it’s caused by smartphones. You can damage your neck and cause serious issues that affect your mobility. It’s important to exercise and avoid stressing your neck as you use your phone.
To prevent neck damage from your smartphone try these tips:
- Hold your phone up higher so you’re not constantly looking down. You may want to consider getting a pair of Prism Glasses to help you sit up straight rather than bending over your phone.
- Stretch from time to time throughout the day. Stretch your neck, back and arms because all of those muscles are related.
- Consider using a deneroll at night to help counteract cervical forward posture. Use as suggested on the packaging for your specific situation and when possible under the instruction of a trained chiropractic professional.
- Schedule regular monthly visits with your chiropractor.
3. Hearing Loss
Does your smartphone have a loud ring tone? Do you spend hours listening to music on your phone? You can damage your ears easily with smartphone usage. Your ears have sensitive hairs that can be hurt by loud sounds.
You can obviously combat this by adjusting your volume.
You can also protect your ears by choosing the right kind of earbuds. According to Consumer Reports, noise-cancelling earbuds are safest. The top recommended brands are Audio-Technica Noise-Cancelling earbuds and Bose Noise-Cancelling earbuds.
4. Finger & Hand Malfunction
Are you spending hours typing on your tiny smartphone screen? You can hurt your fingers and cause damage by using your phone too much. You may suffer from cramps, strains, sprains, and other hand issues. Tendonitis and text claw are common concerns. It’s important to pay attention to how much you use your smartphone and rest your fingers often.
5. Sleep concerns
The blue light emitted from your smartphone affects melatonin levels in your body and can interrupt your sleep cycle. Since many people keep their phones next to their beds and check them, they’re hurting their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
To prevent sleep cycle interruptions you can try wearing Gamma Ray Blocking Glasses while you use your smartphone, tablet or laptop at night. These glasses block the blue gamma rays which make it harder to fall asleep. Another option is obviously to avoid using your phone for several hours before you go to bed, and turn it off at night,… but where is the fun in that?
6. Eye stress
The small screen on a smartphone can hurt your eyes as you squint to see tiny words and images. You can also experience headaches from the eye strain.
To prevent eye strain, increase the font size on your phone and switch to a bigger computer screen for important tasks. You may also consider getting a smartphone with a bigger screen size such as the iPhone Xs.
7. Brain Drain
Studies are showing our smart phones can actually decrease our cognitive ability. They can affect things like concentration, memory and ability to multitask. The simple solution here is to limit screen time and give your brain a break.