In today’s times, it is rare to see a person not glued to their smartphone. Smartphones are an integral part of our existence, and while their usefulness in terms of bridging geographical boundaries and increasing the access of information is infinite, there are many negative consequences of excessive smartphone usage, particularly for the health of individuals.
Just what are these ill effects of smartphone usage?
- Posture – Numerous medical and scientific studies have shown posture is severely affected in those who use smartphones excessively vis a vis those who don’t. Smartphone users tend to develop rounded shoulders, spinal curvatures, vertebrate disorders, and associated neck pain and headaches caused by these ailments.
- Eyesight – Looking at smartphones in bed, results in direct exposure to light, which can be damaging to retinas, which can lead to macular degeneration (i.e., worsening eyesight). An increasing number of ophthalmologists are beginning to believe there’s a link between smartphone use and cataracts, with younger and younger patients experiencing cataracts instead of the typical 75-and-older crowd.
- Sleep – In order to achieve and maintain healthy sleep, our bodies need to be able to naturally produce melatonin. Staring at smartphone screens in bed is like tricking the body into staring into a brightly-lit landscape, which delays melatonin production and prevents us from having quality sleep patterns, resulting in a host of health issues.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you do too much keying, you may experience problems that affect your hands or wrists. There are also specific problems associated with keying on mobile phones, which can strain the tendons of your fingers.
- Lack of exercise. Social media can cut into time you might otherwise be spending outdoors or exercising.
- Distraction. One of the most dangerous potential consequences of social media addiction is driving while being distracted. As recent stories have confirmed, you can even get hurt texting and walking.
While eliminating smartphones from our lives is not a practical step, it is necessary to take small steps towards minimizing their ill effects on our physical and mental health. What are these steps? Here are a few tips from our side:
- Be conscious of your posture, try not to hunch.
- Take frequent breaks when using smartphones for a prolonged period of time.
- Avoid using smartphones while walking, driving or eating.
- Keep stretching your fingers in between smartphone usage, to avoid straining the tendons
- Avoid taking your phone to bed.
- Use smartphones at scheduled times, and not beyond what is necessary. Do not let it affect your personal and professional life.
Many of us have reached a point where we let our smartphones, and social media, ‘use’ us. What we need to understand is that ultimately, we are the users of smartphones, and we need to have control over its relevance in our life.