How often do you use your smartphone every day? If you find yourself constantly checking for texts, social media updates, or app notifications, then you may have a problem on your hands!
Addiction to cell phones is more serious than it might sound. What’s the harm in viewing a piece of technology that most people own and use daily?
The issue with excessive smartphone use is that it can directly impact your health. And no, it’s not necessarily radio waves and cancer that you need to be worried about, although those are still a slight and extreme possibility.
Instead, there are four main categories that smartphone addiction touches on that decrease your quality of life. We’ll cover those below so that you can make a conscious decision to spend less time on your phone!
Eye and Hand Strain
Two fairly obvious ailments resulting from phone addiction are issues with your eyes and hands.
Your eyes suffer for a few reasons. First, staring at any screen for a length of time hurts your eyes. This is because of the blue light emitted, which is harmful to your eyes and quickly causes them to feel fatigued.
In extreme circumstances, the blue light from a smartphone can damage your corneas. As a result, your vision will be impacted and keeping your eyes open can be painful.
Furthermore, your smartphone is fairly small. Staring at a small screen is particularly hard on your eyes because they have to work harder to register smaller words and images.
Then there’s the impact on your hands. If you want to use your phone, then you need to involve your hands. You’ll usually cradle it in one hand and use your thumb to swipe up, down, and to either side through content.
This position is uncomfortable and unnatural for your hands. It can cause pain and discomfort if you hold it in the same position for too long.
Additionally, there’s a great burden placed on your thumbs. Too much smartphone use can quickly lead to something called trigger thumb, which makes it difficult to straighten your thumb!
Another ramification of smartphone use is impaired sleeping habits.
There are two ways this happens. In the first scenario, you may stay up later than you should because you’re too busy scrolling through your phone. If you’re staying up too late, then you’ll get less sleep and might wake up early just to start using your phone again.
The sleep that you do get will also be of poorer quality. You likely use your phone in bed as you’re trying to fall asleep, but it creates the effect of making it difficult to fall asleep.
The blue light emitted from your phone inhibits melatonin production, which is responsible for regulating your sleep and helping you stay asleep. As a result, it will take longer for you to fall asleep and there’s a greater chance of waking up multiple times during the night.
When you do feel tired after laying in bed while using your phone, it’s because your eyes are fatigued from the blue light. This is not a healthy way to start your sleep cycle because you’re lacking melatonin and relying on fatigue instead.
Mental Health Deterioration
One of the most important impacts of smartphone addiction is the deterioration of your mental health.
There are a few ways that this works. This includes disappointment from lack of communication, envy when viewing other people’s social media posts, and reliance on using your phone.
Your phone serves as your connection to the rest of your world. Anytime you get a text or a message on social media, it makes you feel good and like someone else cares about you.
The flip side of this is that not receiving communication can kick your spirits into the dirt. You can feel like nobody cares about you or what you’re doing.
You’re also likely to spend a lot of time on social media. The problem with this is that what you tend to see are the highlights of other people’s lives. They aren’t going to post about boring events, so you only see the exciting aspects.
When this happens, you’ll compare it to your life and feel like yours is boring. You may experience fear of missing out (FOMO) because other people are doing fun things and you aren’t. This is a misconception because other people are doing the same things that you are, just not posting about them.
Dealing with actual smartphone addiction is also problematic because it causes you to rely on your phone. You need it for comfort, escapism, and for feeling good about yourself.
The problem occurs when you don’t have access to your phone. Much like any addiction, you’ll become irritable, stressed, or anxious when you aren’t able to immediately scratch that itch.
Any of these issues mentioned above will do a number on your mental health when you depend on your phone to feel good. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect and creates a negative feedback loop.
Distraction While Driving
One final health complication of smartphone addiction is distracted driving.
If you feel like you need to check your phone, then you might not think twice about doing it while on the road. Maybe you’re stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic and it feels okay to do.
Regardless of what you think, it’s never safe to use your phone while driving. This diverts your attention and doesn’t let you focus on the road.
When you’re not watching the road at all times, you can’t avoid hazards and your reaction time increases. This can quickly lead to an accident.
While smartphone use while driving won’t always cause an accident, if one does happen, then it’s another health complication directly caused by addiction to your phone.
Using your phone might seem innocuous, but using it in excess can quickly lead to health problems.
A few common ailments include eye and hand strain, poor sleep quality, and detriment to your mental health. There’s also the possibility of becoming a distracted driver and causing an accident.
While checking your phone might make you feel good in the moment, it’s effects are negative in the long run and it can be difficult to notice this.
If you find yourself needing to check your phone and see if you have any messages or notifications, then you might have an addiction. Try to cut down on your screen time to better your physical and mental health!