We’ve all heard the fearmongering that people, particularly older generations, have spread about technology. First, TV was going to turn our eyes into squares, then video games were going to make us violent, and now it’s smartphones and tablets that pose a threat. But, given how much time we spend connected to digital technology, could there be something to it? Are there some health risks we ought to know about?
#1) A crick in the neck
It’s by far the problem that’s least likely to apply today since putting your phone to speakerphone is an option, but too much time spent making calls can lead to a few neck and back pain complaints, simply due to bad posture when you’re using it.
Of course, this also counts for spending hours hunched over your phone, scrolling, or texting. The solution here is to be more mindful of your posture and ensure you’re comfortable and supported when using your phone.
#2) All that light is bad for your eyes.
If you grew up with digital technology, someone might be told you that screen time was terrible for your eyes. However, there has been no associated link between the blue light given off by smartphones and long-term damage to your eyes.
It can cause eyestrain if you’re at it too long, which can be treated with eye drops. In addition, blue light can interrupt your sleep and make it harder for you to relax at night, so you might want to consider using a blue light reduction app or screen cover.
#3) What about your ears?
One genuine problem associated with smartphone use is noise exposure. A smartphone ringing or listening through your speaker isn’t likely a concern. The problem is when people wear headphones or earphones. Many people turn the volume up beyond safe thresholds, despite many phones having warnings built-in to prevent this, which can lead to problems with white noise & tinnitus. Your hearing can be damaged by listening to music too loudly, so keep it to a safe level.
#4) All in your mind?
Another fundamental problem is the increasing frequency of mental health issues associated with smartphone use. Now, we have many more reasons to be stressed, anxious, and otherwise less secure than phone use alone. However, depression and anxiety have been tied to kinds of phone use, particularly spending a day interacting with social media.
Social media landscapes tend to be unhealthy unless carefully curated simply due to algorithms pushing more argumentative content for engagement. Taking a social media break could boost your mental health.
Health risks can be associated with smartphones and digital technology, but they are not intrinsically tied to them. We can take steps to prevent health problems simply by being more aware of them.