Phones: The good and the bad
You probably don’t need stats to be convinced that smartphones are everywhere. We’ll give you some anyway, however – 90 percent of Australians own a smartphone, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions report. While this is great for how connected we’ve become, there are some disadvantages to the over-availability of smartphones in our society.
The distractions a smartphone can cause is a disadvantage in itself. Research shows that, in Australia, phone usage has contributed to 22 percent of car accidents and 71 percent of truck accidents.
These numbers are scary, but they are not the end of it. Another concern is in the health risks that accompany using your phone all the time. In this post, we’ll discuss what those potential health risks are.
The importance of phones in today’s world
Smartphones have become an extension of who we are. These little gadgets are arguably the most successful inventions technology-wise. Today, smartphones are more than just tools for easy communication – they are also music and movie players, remote controls, IoT interfaces, cameras, and more.
These same positives are some of the reasons why many are searching for ways to cut down on their phone use. Because of the many functions smartphones serve, especially those that are entertainment related, they have the potential to be significantly distracting. In fact, the 2018 Deloitte report indicated that 41 percent of Australians were concerned about using their smartphones too much.
And now, with the coronavirus pandemic in play, phones have become even more important. As businesses shut down and the population stays at home to maintain social distancing, phones have become the go-to line of communication and entertainment hub.
Health risks associated with excessive phone usage
The question of health risks stemming from excessive phone usage has lingered for quite some time. Many have been debunked, but many remain. Let’s take a look at some health risks associate with using your phone too much.
This is the oldest health concern with phone usage, due to radiation. While some claims are controversial, some studies suggest that phone usage can increase cancer risk over time if excessive. There have been claims that extended phone usage for several hours each day can increase your likelihood of developing brain cancer by 50 percent. Recent studies even specify two types of brain cancer associated with phone usage – glioma and acoustic
Since 1999, three studies have also suggested that those who have used mobile phones for over 10 years have up to three times greater risk of developing a tumor on the side of the head where they typically place their phones.
- Sleep disorders and depression
Getting addicted to your phone is a real phenomenon, especially amongst adolescence. With social media apps, games, movies/music streaming, and more, smartphones can be very entertaining. And because they are portable, their entertainment can be accessed easily, anywhere and at any time. This all sounds like fun until you lose the desire to have human contact with others. Hours spent on the phone can lead to a loss of social skills, which can make one become awkward in the real world, which sends them back spiraling into smartphone world. Such behaviour can lead to depression and other psychological issues, including sleep disorders stemming from extended, frequent phone usage at all hours – day and night.
- Other health risks
Many have claimed a number of risks beyond cancer and depression, but not all have been substantiated. However, some are worth taking note of, such as the idea that pregnant women are exposed to more pronounced risks from phone usage because they are more sensitive to radiation. Other health risks include headaches and eye problems stemming from excessive screen time.
Phones are an integral part of our everyday lives, but they come with some risks. The most concerning risks are health-related. While many disregard some of the health risks of excessive phone usage as unfounded, others are certain that the risks exist. The most concerning are cancerous growths in the brain from extended, frequent use of mobile phones.
Regardless of which studies you find convincing, it is a known fact that mobile phones emit radiation. However, the amounts of radiation are too small to be harmful. But in the long run, the repeated exposure to that radiation over the years can become harmful. Reducing your phone usage can help prevent any potential risks.