Our cell phones are part of our daily lives. Whether it be an iPhone, Android, or some other device, Americans now spend an excess of 5 hours each on their phones. Moreover, most Americans don’t realize that their phones are slowly changing their body and mind.
In a recent research study done by the National Toxicology Program, their studies reveal that rodents exposed to cell phone radiation could potentially develop brain and heart cancer. Other organizations such as the UN and World Health Organization arrived at similar results and demanded that the cell phone industry limit their radiation output (1).
Additionally, doctors in the US have noticed a spike in Myopia (nearsightedness) as a result of increased cell phone usage. Myopia is a condition in which the eye loses the ability to see far objects. When we look at screens, our eyes tend to blink less, resulting in stress acting on our eyes. Large amounts of stress overtime result in our eye morphing, changing how light enters our eyes.
Furthermore, your muscles may be getting weaker as well. In a recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, excessive scrolling and texting could result in tendon inflammation which may cause muscle problems in the long term. Also, many young teens bend their backs and necks when looking at their phones. Poor posture can lead to early arthritis.
We’re also losing sleep by using our phones. Our bodies own biological clock, the circadian rhythm, gets confused when you’re on your phone late at night. When we’re using our phones at night, our bodies are being tricked into thinking that it’s not time to sleep. This results in us being more alert when we go to sleep, taking longer to fall asleep.
Above all, the social consequences are even worse. The human mind is wired for in-person social communication. We get our hints from facial expressions, actions, movements, and appearance. Phones remove this and dramatically change how we interact with others. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, saying hello in person can extend your life. Saying hello helps one to interact with others, stimulating areas in our brain. As a result, your brain becomes healthier.
Cell phone addiction is on the rise. Whether it be texting or snapchatting, communication has changed throughout the years. People are no longer focusing/interacting with the people around them but rather focusing on their cell phones. This form of isolation changes our social skills, resulting in our alienation from others or even making it harder for us to communicate in person. In addition, our addiction to cell phones is changing our brain chemistry. Whenever we’re picking up our phones, our brains get a “high” because we like using them. This could potentially cause depression and anxiety and has been shown to be true. A study from Northwestern University showed that the more time people spend on their phones, the more likely they are to be depressed (2).
Although I’m not saying that we should eliminate phones altogether, research suggests that each person should limit their time and exposure to phones. Remember, humans are socially oriented creatures, meaning that we are better suited to communicate in person. Cell phones may seem enjoyable, but in the long run, they’ll do more harm than good.
- “Cell Phones.” National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/cellphones/.
- LaMotte, Sandee. “Smartphone Addiction Could Be Changing Your Brain.” CNN, Cable News Network, 1 Dec. 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/30/health/smartphone-addiction-study/index.html.