The Hidden Dangers of Cell Phones          

by Jillian Chertok


It’s all about cell phones in July! In my last post I talked about July being National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, and how we all need to be a little more courteous in how we use our phones, and now I’m back to tell you about some of the ways that using your cell phone is harming you. I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before and, as far as you know, no one has been seriously harmed from excessively using their cell phone. Yet. While you may not immediately notice the different ways your cell phone is harming you, it’s definitely happening. Read on to find out how, and by the end you’ll probably want to reconsider how much time you spend with your phone glued to your hand, or ear.

  1. Increased cancer risk. You’ve probably heard this one before, but there’s been a lot of conflicting information out there. According to the American Cancer Society, “Cell phones give off a form of energy known as radio frequency waves, so some concerns have been raised about the safety of cell phone use. With respect to cancer, concern focuses on whether cell phones might increase the risk of brain tumors or other tumors in the head and neck area.” Want more details? There’s a lot more information about this available from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
  1. Increased risk of other ailments too. The constant texting and emailing you do with your cell phone, often at rapid speed, can cause pain and inflammation in your joints. Also, holding your phone between your neck and shoulders can lead to back pain. And all that time we spend looking at our small phones? Well, it can lead to vision problems later in life.
  1. A hotbed of disease. Think about it. Your cell phone is probably in your hand a good portion of the day. And your hand is also touching other things, like dirty subway poles, food, other people, etc etc. And if you give your phone to someone else to look at something, all of their germs are on it too! If that doesn’t gross you out, this will. A study found that cell phones could be as dirty as public toilet seats, and the heat phones generate makes a perfect spot for bacteria to breed. Does anyone else suddenly have the urge to disinfect their cell phone?
  1. Disturbing your sleep. Studies have shown that people who sleep with a cell phone in their room sleep less. But really, we don’t need any studies to tell us this because it’s pretty obvious. Cell phones are distractions – social media, online shopping, working, news reading, etc – and having one on and close by when you’re sleeping makes it verrrrry tempting to reach for it and distract yourself for minutes, or even hours, when instead you should be sleeping. Easy solution? Turn your phone off at night and keep it out of your room.
  1. Messing with your emotions. According to two studies, when a cell phone is present when two people are having an in-person conversation, it can generate negative feelings toward the person who has their device present, which, if you’ve you ever had a conversation with someone who does this (and you’ve probably had many), you know what they’re talking about. Also, frequent use of cell phones can negatively affect stress levels. According to another study, researchers found that high cell phone use is associated with stress, sleep disturbance and symptoms of depression.

Pretty disturbing, and disgusting information, but is it enough to get you to cut back on your cell phone usage? That’s a hard habit to break, but I know that I’ll definitely think twice before I pick up my phone and waste precious minutes (ok, sometimes hours), mindlessly scrolling through my social media feeds, checking out my frenemy’s latest photo album or looking up an actor’s IMDb profile.

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