When last did you intentionally go a full day without using your phone? A Complete 24 hours. Can’t recall? You are not alone.
Over the years, phones have grown to become an integral part of our everyday lives. Besides making calls and sending text messages, which was the primary aim of a phone about two decades ago, we do so much on our phones these days that it is almost impossible to imagine life without them. As phones continue to get advanced in their functions, so has our dependence on them increased. Now, we can read books, listen to music, watch movies, make video calls, play games, and keep up with the news all on our phones. We even use our phones to work.
Indeed what a phone can do continues to expand as each day passes. Some of what could be done on a computer some 5 – 10 years ago can now be conveniently done on a phone – and in less time. Phones have made our lives easier in ways we no longer think about. But it does not come with a downside, which takes us back to the question at the beginning of the article – when last did you intentionally go a full day without using your phone?
It is okay if you cannot answer that question. There are billions of people around the world, just like you, who are unable to put their phone down for up to 12 hours unless they are forced to. In a country like Nigeria, people can go a day or more without using their phones, but it is not by their own doing as they are forced to due to the power situation in the country. And within those hours, when they are unable to use their phones, the agony is unbearable. That is a growing phenomenon known as phone addiction.
Phone addiction is a real issue. Like every other type of addiction, phone addiction is not very easy to deal with. Notice how you feel when your phone is not with you? How do you constantly have to check your phone for messages or updates, even when there is nothing new? How are you always so hyped about the newest software update or device? These are some characteristics of phone addiction, and the chances are high that you relate to some of its symptoms. But phone addiction is not the only health problem with using a phone. There are some others, including:
1. Blurry Vision
This is a very common problem with consistent phone use. When you use your phone for a long stretch, your vision gets quite blurry that it becomes hard for you to make out faces or texts from a distance. You may also experience dizziness and eyestrain. Although it tends to clear up after some time, it could lead to serious problems with the eyes over time.
Taking a break from your screen every now and then could help to reduce this. Also, make sure your phone’s screen is not too bright or too dim.
2. Text Neck
Do you feel pain around your neck after hours of phone use? That is known as text neck. It happens because you spend too much time crouching at your phone when using it. The pain could also extend to your lower back, and it could affect your posture.
3. Short Attention Span
Frequent phone use also tends to shorten your attention span, but this should not come as a surprise. These days, with so much happening all at the same time, we tend to get absorbed easily as we shift our focus from things quickly. This also affects us in real life. Some people cannot listen to a conversation in person for up to two minutes without glancing at their phone screen.
4. Loss Of Concentration
You could also easily lose concentration when using your phone, and this could be serious in some cases. Some people get so lost when using their phones, especially when walking on the road, that they put themselves at risk of being hit by a car. Likewise, people who drive and use their phones could also lose concentration and put themselves at risk of getting involved in an accident.
5. Poor Mental Health
Another one of likely health effects of using phone too much is that it can potentially lead to poor mental health. A 2019 study reported that cell phone usage badly affects mental health of adolescents by making them anxious, depressed and angry.
Another study also stated that excessive smartphone use is linked to difficulties in cognitive-emotion regulation, poor cognitive function, addiction to social networking, shyness, poor sleep habits, and low self-esteem. All these symptoms can adversely affect your mental health.
We understand how important and helpful phones are. For many of us, our phones allow us to unlock a world of free knowledge or information or to keep in touch with people we have not seen for years.
However, we should also realise that too much of a good thing can be bad, and there should be times when we should drop our phones and just enjoy the world around us. The above health effects of using phone too much should motivate you to make serious changes on your phone usage habits.