5 reasons to stop looking at your smartphone

Mobile phones (and the data networks that have grown with them) have drastically reshaped the way we live in thousands of different ways.

Smartphones Damage Your Eyes

The human eye is an incredible organ, capable of a wide variety of tasks. Unfortunately, smartphone culture is drastically reducing the amount of long-distance focusing we do, instead of locking our gaze a few inches away from our face and keeping it there.

The light is given off by our devices, or blue light, “can be used to treat circadian and sleep dysfunctions,” according to a 2016 study. But it can “also induce photoreceptor damage. Thus, it is important to consider the spectral output of LED-based light sources to minimize the danger that may be associated with blue light exposure.

Smartphones Are Bad for Sleep

Many people have a hard time putting down their cell phones before bed—when your Twitter interactions are going crazy, taking one more look is hard to resist. Unfortunately, a number of studies have revealed that using LCD screens—especially close to your face—can upset your natural sleep cycle.

The blue light that they give off has been theorized to inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. Our eyes are accustomed to absorbing blue light from the sun in daylight hours, so when we get it at night it disrupts the circadian rhythms that spur us to rest at night and wake in the morning.

Mobile phone makers have caught on, which is why iPhone and Android devices now have blue light filters, while apps are adopting dark modes to turn your device into something a little more pleasing on the eyes. Many of these tools can even be scheduled in order to automatically change with the time of day.

Smartphones Make You Unlikable

Studies reveal that frequent peeks at your device might damage your friendships as much as your eyes. A 2012 University of Essex study found that the mere presence of a mobile device can make people have a negative impression of us.

In the experiment, they paired conversational partners and had them discuss recent events for 10 minutes. Half of the pairs had a cell phone visible but not used, and half had no phone. The people with phones were overwhelmingly seen as less relatable and more negative than people without them.

Smartphones Carry Bacteria

It’s a given that pretty much any object we come into contact within the course of a day is absolutely seething with bacteria, but cell phones carry extra dangers because we bring them into close proximity with our ears and mouth.

Study after study demonstrates that your phone is awash in funky germs; some have more bacteria than the average toilet. Washing your hands regularly will help mitigate this issue, but your phone is still a disease vector that can make you sick. If you want to clean your gadget, here’s how to do it safely.

Smartphones Are Bad For Your Neck

You know cell phones are changing the world when they have medical ailments named after them. “Text Neck” has been springing up more and more in the last few years. The human head is a heavy object, and our neck and spine are designed to keep it up at a certain angle.

When we tilt our head down to look at our phone, it increases the pressure we put on our cervical spine as much as 60 pounds, which has been shown to increase upper back and neck pain.