Your Cell Phone is Hurting You
By Thao Nguyen
Chances are you’re reading this article from your phone, and if you’re not, then your phone is still probably nearby. Our phones have become such an integral part of our lives, that there’s already a newly proposed phobia for the anxiety we feel when we don’t have access to them. You know what I mean. That heart-stopping moment when you reach frantically into your purse or into your pocket and don’t feel the smooth face of your phone’s screen. Or that dread you feel when the screen turns to black because the battery is dead. No matter how you respond to your phone being unavailable to you, it’s probably unhealthy.
Our phones have made a lot of things convenient for us. Almost everything we could possibly want are is a couple button clicks away. But, if we become too attached to our phones, we are putting ourselves at risk for losing a lot too. Our mental and physical health have to be one of our top priorities, and being attached at the hip (please don’t use a phone holster) to our phones is derailing that.
We’ve spoken about unplugging at Polarity already, but I’m here to stress just how important it is to put your phones away because our mobile devices are harming us physically and psychologically, if we refuse to put them down. Here are three good reasons to turn off your phone (after you finish reading this article of course) and spend some time away from the blue glow of the screen. Once you finish going through them, take this challenge with me: put your phone in a drawer for at least three hours during your day. Mark every time you find yourself reaching for it for no reason; you might be surprised to find just how addicted you are to your mobile device. Make it a point to reach for it less often each day.
They’re dirty AF. You probably don’t want to spend as much time as possible in a public restroom because those are dirty and they stink. But most cell phones have 18x more bacteria than a public restroom. From e.coli to MRSA, your phone could potentially house millions of dangerous bacteria that will do you more harm than good. So before you insist on bringing your phone with you everywhere, using it at the dining table, and constantly using it, think twice. And wipe it down every night too!
Sleep disturbances. I’m not going to lie, I’m probably more addicted to my phone than I would like to admit. I already have insomnia and sleep paralysis, but my phone has made it worse. I spend at least 45 minutes scrolling through all my social media after turning off the lights and getting into bed. Phone usage has been linked to lower sleep quality and more difficulty in falling asleep.
Anxiety, dependency, and depression. Studies have shown that people who use their cell phones for leisure are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Millennials may be more vocal about suffering from these disorders than previous generations, but we certainly aren’t helping ourselves deal with them if we are taking part in activities that are making them worse. If the thought of going phoneless for a day seems crazy to you, then you may have a dependency problem.