5 Ways Your Cell Phone Is Hurting You Every Day – Healthy Living Association

5 Ways Your Cell Phone Is Hurting You Every Day

Did you know that the cell phone was originally introduced as a big and bulky device in 1984 and was thought to be more of an inconvenience than anything else.

It’s almost humorous how much the views and opinions towards cell phones have drastically changed over the course of 30 years.

Welcome to the 21st century, where cell phones have now become a permanent necessity to our day-to-day lives.

Do you panic when you realize that you left your phone at home or in your car and have to go a day without it?

Are you constantly fighting the urge to immediately check your notifications?

If so, you are not alone.

It is becoming more and more rare to encounter someone who does not own a cell phone.

Your cell phone is a valuable source of information that is available right at your fingertips (you are probably reading this on your phone right now)…but, is your cell phone actually causing you more harm than good?

That’s right, your trusted cell phone may be causing more harm to your health and wellness than you realize.

In fact, a new word has been created to describe the feeling of stress and anxiety you experience when you are without your cell phone or if the battery is dead.

Nomophobia. The fear of not having your cell phone with you.

The anxiety you get when you don’t have your phone on you, is just one obvious way that your phone is harming your health and well being.

Read on to find out how else your cell phone is negatively affecting your life.

Danger #1: Your Cell Phone is Affecting your Fertility.

Where do you keep your cell phone most of the time?

Your pants pocket?

If so, you might want to find a new place to store it.

Studies have shown that by storing your phone in your pants pocket, you may be at risk of infertility.

One study[1] conducted in 2014, took sperm samples from 32 “sperm-healthy” men and split it into two different sample groups. One sample group was placed in a thermostat for 5 hours while the other group was placed beside a cell phone on standby mode in a thermostat for 5 hours.

In order to keep the experiment as controlled as possible, 2 months prior to the experiment, the sperm donors were instructed to keep their cell phones out of their pants pocket.

Results from this study were quite concerning to those who keep their cellphones on them at all times.

The results from the group of sperm stored with the cell phone, showed lower levels of sperm mobility than the group without the cell phone.

Yikes.

Another study[2] published in 2018 recently showed that long time cell phone use may have a negative effect on male fertility. Researchers believed that the electromagnetic waves produced by cell phones could have a negative effect on male sperm count and frequencies.

Results found that the group with further distance from the cell phone showed less exposure to electromagnetic waves and showed a higher sperm count than the group 10 cm away from the cell phone.

In other words…

Guys, if your fertility is important to you, try to find somewhere else to keep your cell phone from now on.

Danger #2: Your Cell Phone is Affecting your Relationships

Have you ever gone out to grab a cup of coffee or for a nice dinner with your spouse, kids, grandkids, or a friend…only to have them constantly checking their cell phone?

Ever notice how if you get together with someone and they set their phone on the table that you are aware of it sitting there, nervous that it might ring?

Our health is greatly affected by our relationships with those close to us. We all want deep connections, especially with those we love. Time and time again, happiness and longevity studies show that having deep relationships not only keeps us happier, but it extends our lives! But, cellphones can disrupt these important relationships.

When we’re trying to have a conversation, and someone checks their phone – even for a quick glance – it sends out a signal that something else (news, sports scores, some stranger’s Facebook post, etc.) or someone else is more important than you. It says that they aren’t truly present with you. Out of boredom, necessity for their job, or for the tiny rush of dopamine when someone else comments on their Instagram post, checking a cellphone can be a habit that people aren’t even aware of. So, it may not be “personal,” that they are constantly looking at their phone when they are with you, but it still hurts a bit, nonetheless.

So, when you’re out with loved ones (or anyone, for that matter), here are some tricks to getting quality time with them, and showing them how much they mean to you:

  • Lead by example and put your phone on mute, and put it out of sight. There likely is nothing so pressing that it can’t wait for an hour. People calling in will leave a message. News, texts, emails, and sport scores will be there when you’re done.
  • Mention to those you’re with, that you’re putting your cellphone on silent and that you’re putting it away so you can focus on them. Often, this encourages them to do the same.
  • If they still have their phone out, nicely ask for what you need, “I was wondering if you have anything urgent that you need on your phone? If not, would you mind putting it on silent and we can check our phones in an hour?”
  • And if you’re with teenager and young kids, you can establish boundaries, “Tonight, we’re going to go for 2 hours without our phones. Here’s a basket to put them all in.” (This works great for dinner parties and family gatherings as well – getting out the “cellphone basket.”)

You may notice that some people don’t know what to do without their phones, even for an hour or two; but soon they’ll realize that having deep, present, and meaningful conversations is worth it.

Danger #3: Your Cell Phone is Disturbing Your Sleep.

Do you keep your cell phone plugged in beside your bed, within arms reach every night?

Is it the last thing that you look at before you go to bed and the first thing you look at when you wake up?

In fact, according to a survey published in TIME, most adults between the ages of 18-24 reported sleeping with their cell phones within reach because they felt the need to stay connected at all times[3]. The same group of adults also reported that they felt as if their quality of sleep was lower than it should be.

You may be wondering, how exactly is your cell phone causing a decline in your sleep?

It’s really quite simple.

Prior to falling asleep, the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, is supposed to rise to a higher level, which in turn makes you sleepy. However, when you use your cell phone (or any screen for that matter), it projects a blue light that suppresses that sleep-inducing hormone.

An interesting study was conducted by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2013[4] to determine if the blue light negatively affected melatonin levels.

They took 13 participants and divided them into 3 different groups. Researchers then gave each participant a tablet to use for a 2 hour time span, along with a pair of goggles to wear.

The first group wore orange tinted goggles to filter out the blue light from the screens. The second group then wore no goggles at all, while the third group were given blue-light goggles to be a control.

As you probably expected, the participants wearing the orange-tinted goggles had higher levels of melatonin than the other two groups after two hours.

So what does this mean for you?

Try to limit your screen time before going to bed and resist the urge to scroll or play games an hour before it’s time to sleep.

Try to find a night time ritual for yourself to help you get ready for sleep such as:

  • Reading a physical book
  • Journaling
  • Meditating
  • Light Stretching

Danger #4: Your Cell Phone is Distracting You.

Distracted driving is probably one of the first dangers that pops into your mind when you think of cell phone danger.

We all know that distracted driving is bad and that we shouldn’t do it. But for some reason, people are still doing it daily.

The temptation to check that notification, answer that text or even make that phone call, tends to overcome almost everyone’s sense of logic and safety.

In fact, 25% of car crash fatalities in 2018, were caused by some form of distracted driving and 14% of which included some form of cell phone distraction[5] (i.e. texting, scrolling, calling).

Unfortunately, that’s not all. The danger of distraction is not only limited to driving anymore. Distracted walking has become a growing hazard and has resulted in numerous fatalities.

A study based out of the UK[6], examined how writing a text message on a cell phone can negatively affect the awareness of a pedestrian. Researchers examined the difference between a pedestrian’s speed and accuracy when they walked by different obstacles while looking down at a cell phone, versus when they walked without one.

Results showed (as you probably guessed), that when a pedestrian walked by while looking down at a cell phone in their hand, they were more likely to hit obstacles than those without their phone. The pedestrians with the phone in their hands also showed a considerably slower speed to allow for more time to avoid obstacles.

After looking at these sobering stats, we know that distracted driving and walking are no joking matter, but is that enough to keep you from picking up your phone?

Do yourself a favor and put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” before you get in the car or walk along traffic, and eliminate the temptation to send that text message.

Danger #5: Your Phone Covered in More Germs Than You Realize

Your cell phone goes everywhere with you. Your car. Work. The doctors office. Your dinner table. Your bed. You probably even take it to the washroom with you.

But, did you know that your phone is probably covered in 10 times more germs than an average toilet seat.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, your phone may be more similar to a toilet seat than you think[7].

The study took samples from 390 phones from 12 cities across the United Kingdom and tested to see what kinds of bacteria and germs would be found on the cell phones surface.

The results were a mix of shocking and disgusting.

Based off of the study results, you can find traces of fecal matter on 1 in 6 cell phones.

Gross, right?

Unfortunately, there are many other ways aside from using your phone in the washroom to contaminate your phone. 

When you use your phone, you are only exposing yourself to one set of germs and bacteria. Yours.

However, when you share your phone or use someone else’s phone, you are instantly contaminating yourself with any and all germs that they may have had contact with.

Another study also showed the disturbing results of just how contaminated your phone is. Researchers took test samples from the phones of 27 highschool students[8] and tested it to see what bacteria was on it.

The results were once again, not very surprising.

Researchers found over 17,000 different types of bacterial gene copies on each cell phone. Bacterias such as E.Coli, Staphylococcus, and Fecal Matter were commonly found on the high schoolers phones. If that doesn’t make you want to clean your phone immediately, there probably isn’t much else that would.

So what can you do to avoid getting infected from the different germs found on your phone?

  • Wipe it down your phone with a special screen cleaning solution or a water and white vinegar mix
  • Avoid bringing your phone with you into the washroom
  • Limit sharing your phone as much as possible and clean it shortly after someone else uses it.
  • Wash your hands.

NOW, we want to know what your thoughts are.

Do you think your cell phone is causing you more damage than good? Do you think you could live without it?

We’d love to know!

Comment below.

References:

[1] The influence of direct mobile phone radiation on sperm quality https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074720/

[2] Effect of Electromagnetic Waves from Mobile Phones on Spermatogenesis in the Era of 4G-LTE https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896334/

[3]Your Wireless Life:Results of TIME’s Mobility Poll http://content.time.com/time/interactive/0,31813,2122187,00.html

[4] Impact of Self-Luminous Tablet Displays on Evening Melatonin Levels https://www.lrc.rpi.edu/resources/newsroom/pdf/2012-2013/iPad8511.pdf

[5] 100 Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics for 2018 https://teensafe.com/100-distracted-driving-facts-statistics-for-2018/

[6] The impact of mobile phone use on where we look and how we walk when negotiating floor based obstacles https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0179802#sec001

[7] One in six mobile phones in the UK is contaminated with fecal matter, researchers found. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111014080531.htm

[8] High level bacterial contamination of secondary school students’ mobile phones https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466825/

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