Cell Phone Addiction: Is It Damaging Your Health?
Spending too much time on your phone can lead to all kinds of health problems. Below are just some of the ways cell phone addiction can damage your health.
Constantly staring down at your phone could be causing you to get a sore neck. This is sometimes referred to as ‘text neck’. A small strain could eventually turn into a permanent ache if you’re not careful – may people end up having to see chiropractors to reduce this pain. By spending less time on your phone, you could help to prevent yourself from developing this pain.
Some people can also start to get pain in their hand, wrist or elbow from constantly typing, scrolling or playing games. This is sometimes known as ‘text claw’. This is a similar repetitive strain injury to carpal tunnel syndrome and can require physical therapy or surgery to treat if it gets too severe. Put your phone down if you start to experience this pain.
Staring at a bright screen for long periods can lead to eye strain. This is a result of the blue light from your cell phone screen. Eye strain can cause temporary blurry vision, achy eyes and headaches. If you start to get sore eyes, it could be time to take a break from the screen (computers, tablets and TVs can also cause eye strain, so take a break from these devices too).
Cell phone addiction can contribute to lack of sleep. If you’re up all night on your phone, consider whether it’s time to create a cutoff point, after which point you’re not allowed to look at your phone. You should ideally aim to not use your phone an hour before going to bed as blue light from a cell phone screen can prevent production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
Some people feel an intense feeling of anxiety when unable to access their phone. When not able to access their phone, some people find it hard to concentrate on other tasks. This can lead to problems at work and relationship issues. It’s important to train yourself to be comfortable away from your phone. Those notifications can wait – if it’s an emergency someone will ring you.
Cell phone addiction can also lead to depression. This is often a combination of lack of exercise, lack of time spent outdoors, lack of physical social interaction and lack of sleep caused by excess phone usage. The content you’re absorbing on your phone can also have an impact – social media jealousy and cyberbullying are common causes of depression for teens.
How to spend less time on your phone
You should try to cut down daily cell phone usage to 2 hours per day (outside of work or emergency calls). Most modern smartphones tell you how much time you’re spending on your phone so that you can determine whether you need to cut down.
A few other ways in which you can encourage yourself to spend less time on your phone include:
- Turning off notifications while at work, socializing or enjoying family time
- Dedicating set hours to leisurely smartphone usage (i.e. games and social media)
- Moving distracting apps away from your home screen
- Setting your phone to grayscale