Smartphones have taken over the world, and in no uncertain terms. Market research has indicated that more than two billion people around the world will own a smartphone by 2016. That would mean a quarter of the world’s populations is using these nifty contraptions. It is a professional’s best friend, your every-handy source of entertainment and even, as many put it, your new window to the world. As a glut of mobile applications, services and games threaten to saturate this market a new problem has arisen, silent but ever so dangerous. Is this amazing new piece of technology becoming an addiction, is it, ultimately, hurting the individual using it?
The answer in many medical circles is a resounding, ‘Yes’. A Gallups poll released by Time in September this year, points at some really alarming numbers about smartphone dependency. Nearly 81 percent of the people said they keep their smartphones near them at all hours, a disturbing 63 percent keep their smartphones close to themselves even when asleep. It even has a name now, Nomophobia, or no mobile phone phobia. One can argue that is not necessarily a ‘phobia’ but just a normal anxiety. However, can anxiety, on a regular basis be any good for you? And these are just the psychological implications of this gadget.
Here are some of the more nefarious side effects of smartphones:
Hand and arm ailments
While the moniker ‘text-claw’ might be a little much, the ailment is acutely real. The moniker comes from the way you hold your phone.
Prolific texters and gamers often complain of finger cramping and shooting pains up the muscles of their hands and wrist. This is something that can even happen if you are merely scrolling. Cell-phone elbow is another common complaint, and can
involve a tingling sensation in some of your fingers. Give your hand some rest, and do some wrist exercises at least a couple of times a day to keep your hand and arms well stretched.
Peering into your phone all the time leaves your neck craning
downward. This can call, what is commonly known as, iPosture or text neck. This can strain your back and neck muscles and cause severe pain and even cramps. The
constant act of looking down, straining your neck muscles can also cause back problems if coupled with bad posture. Make sure that you stretch your neck and do neck rotations a few times a day to keep your neck stretched out. Better still, put a limit on your smartphone usage.
Smartphones are tiny screens, and subsequently all the images and words seen put a lot more strain on the eyes. Peering into your phone and getting all squint-eyed in trying to make out the tiny text of your friend’s latest Facebook update might not be worth the health of your eyes. This can cause blurred vision, dry eyes, redness of eyes and eye strain.
Phantom phone ring
This is one of the most commonly occurring problems among those using smartphones. Phantom vibration or phantom rings are often a common reason why people keep constantly checking their phones. Those expecting a message or an update often find it anxiety inducing to see that it was just their imagination. A study published in Computers in Human Behaviour, a journal, states that nine out of every ten smartphone users interviewed had experienced phantom rings or phantom vibrations.