7 Health Reasons to Put Down Your Phone

  • Asian girl reading sms on smarthphone
    Smart Use of Smartphones
    As our busy lives increasingly depend on the convenience of smartphones—chances are good you’re reading this on one right now—that same convenience is also putting new physical demands on our bodies. If you find yourself experiencing dry eyes or a neck ache after long phone sessions, it may be time to make a few tweaks to your tech routine. Take these health factors into consideration and keep yourself safe while you swipe.
  • Sleeping Man Being Woken By Mobile Phone In Bedroom
    1. Smartphones want to wake you up.
    Do you keep your cell phone next to your bed? You’re not alone. About 65% of adults keep their phones and other electronics within arm’s reach when they sleep, and that number rises to 90% for adults ages 18-29. However, smartphones produce “blue light,” which actually tells our brains it’s time to wake up. One study also found that smartphones and tablets suppress melatonin, making it harder to get the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep we all need to feel refreshed in the morning.
  • Close up of womans eyes
    2. Your eyes need a break.
    A steady stream of people visit the doctor every year with headaches, blurred vision, eyestrain and dry eyes, all because of overuse of screens. Some doctors call it Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain, and smartphones, which our eyes work harder to see, are a major cause. If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect your phone or tablet may be the culprit, first get your vision checked, then fix issues such as glare or poor lighting. Taking regular, frequent breaks will also help.
  • Woman who uses the smartphone
    3. “Text neck” is breaking your back.
    Coined in 2008, “text neck” is the pain in your neck and upper shoulders from being hunched over your smartphone for hours a day. The American Physical Therapy Association says forward head posture, which is the position we often take to read our phones, can cause muscle strain, disc herniation, and pinched nerves over time. They recommend always being aware of your posture while using your phone, taking a break every 20 minutes to stand up, and rolling your shoulders or going for a walk.
  • Teenagers using cellphones
    4. Carpal tunnel is not just for adults anymore.
    The average teenager sends more than 3,000 text messages a month, or 10 messages an hour, when they’re not in school or sleeping. It’s easy to see how carpal tunnel syndrome, which is normally rare for teens, is becoming more common in the under-20 set. If you experience symptoms such as tingling in your hands and decreased sensation and strength, it’s time to cut back, take frequent breaks, stretch your wrists and see your doctor if it persists.
  • Young boy (4-5) playing mobile game on his mothers phone
    5. Smartphones are hazardous to toddlers.
    We’ve all seen silly videos of people engrossed in their smartphones, falling down or bumping into signs. But when small kids are unsupervised, it’s no joke. In fact, a recent report shows that smartphones can lead to an increase in childhood injuries on playground equipment due to distracted parents. And there’s nothing to “like” about that.
  • Cleaning Phone
    6. Cell phones are cesspools of bacteria.
    The next time you whip out your phone to take a selfie at dinner, consider this: Smartphones carry more bacteria than toilet seats. Coliform bacteria, which are often found in feces, are commonly found on smartphones, as are bacteria that cause pink eye and viruses that cause the flu. Check your phone’s manual to see if it’s safe to clean your screen with alcohol wipes, which wipe out 99% of the bacteria on your phone.
  • Oh no
    7. Your phone may be causing skin breakouts.
    In addition to causing colds or flu, the bacteria on your phone can also irritate the skin on your face. Whether you hold the phone up to your ear or touch your cheek after tapping out a text, those germs can be transferred to your skin, where they can cause blemishes and acne breakouts. Experts suggest cleaning your phone’s surface regularly or using headphones when chatting to avoid direct contact between your skin and the screen.
7 Health Reasons to Put Down Your Phone

About The Author

  1. Computer vision syndrome. American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/protecting-your-vision/computer-vision...
  2. Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. http://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1232.full
  3. Do you sleep with your cell phone? Pew Research Center. http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/do-you-sleep-with-your-cell-phone/
  4. Psychophysiological Patterns During Cell Phone Text Messaging: A Preliminary Study. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10484-009-9078-1
  5. 4 Ways to Prevent Your Cell Phone From Causing Breakouts. Women’s Health. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/cell-phone-breakouts
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 1
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.