As smartphones become inevitable parts of people’s lives, the problems of overusing phones are capturing the media’s attention. According to The Telegraph, teens spend on average almost four hours daily on their smartphones. The Washington Post wrote that 7.5 hours are spent on media in general, whether on their phones, TV or computer. One out of four teens own cell phones that allow them to stay “connected,” according to The Pew Research Center.
Overusage of smartphones and other electrical devices, like the overuse of body parts or alcohol, is harmful to your body, physically and mentally. Looking at a screen for too long causes eye strain, headaches, blurry vision and dry eyes. Most people sit for a long amount of time using their phone, and it affects their cardiovascular systems and metabolism, leading to the increased risk of diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, heart attacks and insomnia.
A website called A Life of Productivity stated, “TVs, computers, smartphones, and tablets all emit a lot of ‘blue’ light, which prevents your body from releasing melatonin, a chemical that helps you sleep. This holds especially true when you use your devices in the two to three hours before you go to bed.” In addition, withdrawal symptoms can occur through technology addiction.
“Research from Swansea and Milan universities found that heavy Internet users suffered from withdrawal similar to those experienced by drug users, when they went offline,” Time magazine reported. Young children, when spending four or so hours on devices, experienced emotional problems such as anxiety or depression, according to Mercola.com. This can change how they develop, and is unnatural.
For students, lack of sleep and tiredness is detrimental to one’s grades and focus. They can also lower athletic performance, especially if they are long-term symptoms. If the addiction factor is added, students get distracted from school and extracurricular activities. As with smoking, withdrawal symptoms are an issue as well, because the yearning also causes students to become distracted and lose their concentration.
“I don’t use my phone as much as I used to,” said Ryan Chew, a freshman at La Canada High School. He said, “A lot of that time wasted was on social media. After I stopped using [social media], the amount of time spent on my phone dropped quite a bit.” Ryan also agreed that a smartphone can become a distraction.
Having said that, there are a few ways to prevent these health issues. The best way to prevent these effects is through cutting down on screen time, and doing other activities. However, even just standing up and stretching occasionally, or looking away from your screen for a few minutes, can help prevent physical strains. Another way to limit your screen time is to keep busy. The more time you spend doing other things, the less time you have to use on a smartphone, computer, etc. Creating “challenges” also help a great deal when setting a goal to reduce the amount of time on your phone. For instance, if you have a device that does not have a long-lasting battery, try this challenge: You have to make it through a whole day with only one full charge (no partial charges). Just plug it into a charger when you go to sleep and then in the morning when it is fully charged, unplug the cord and put it elsewhere. Even if overusage doesn’t seem like a problem now, it may later.