5 Health Benefits of Less Mobile Phone Usage

05 Nov 2018

Group of 4 friends standing around a table looking at a mobile phone

Mobile phone addiction

According to a survey published by Deloitte, more than 38% of people believe that they are using their phone too much. This is most apparent amongst younger consumers, 56% of whom believe they are overusing their phone, whereas only 16% of older people think that they have a mobile phone ‘addiction’.

Moreover, 41% of respondents who were in a relationship believed that their partner spent too much time on their phone, and 60% of parents thought their children might have a mobile phone addiction.

All this points to the fact that people are starting to think that our relationship with our phones is becoming somewhat toxic. Smartphones changed the landscape of personal mobile devices – no longer are they simply for calls, as social media, gaming, emails and work have all become part of the regular activities we perform on our phones.

Let’s face it, we’re all a little too engrossed in our phones on a daily basis. It’s time to reconsider reducing your mobile phone usage and reaping the health benefits.

Identify your usage

Do you find yourself spending more time on your phone than you realise? Do you find yourself mindlessly passing the time by staring at social media? Do you lose track of time when you use your smartphone?

If you answered yes to all the above, then you might be addicted to your phone. Luckily, there is a great way to check – doctor David Greenfield, of The Centre for Internet and Technology Addiction, has developed a 15-question test that allows you to check if your phone usage is reasonable or excessive. If you answer yes to more than 5 of the questions below then it might be time to start looking at reducing your phone usage.

The negative effects of mobile phone addiction

If you’re still not convinced that you should reduce your smartphone usage, here are some facts and suggestions that may convince you otherwise.

1. Mobile phone usage reduces happiness

According to a study from Kent State University, frequent use of a mobile phone reduces happiness in students. The study suggests that frequent users tended to have higher anxiety and lower satisfaction with life, relative to peers, who use their phones less often.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, after all humans are social animals who derive meaning and positivity in life from relationships and contact with other humans.

2. It can damage your eyes

Scientists at the University of Toledo have discovered that blue light from digital devices transforms vital cells in the retina of the eye into cell killers. Essentially, what this does is speed up macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease that tends to occur more frequently in older adults.

3. It’s bad for your neck

The increase in mobile phone usage has led to the addition of a new buzzword to health textbooks: text neck. The term ‘text neck’ is used to describe the pain and damage sustained from constantly looking down at your phone.

4. It damages your sleep quality

Almost everyone today uses their phone as an alarm, meaning that the phone is kept on the bedside table or even under a pillow. How often have you felt tempted by your phones proximity to check your social media, respond to work emails, or even scan the headlines? This is detrimental to the body as not only does the blue light we discussed above damage your eyes, it also suppresses melatonin (sleep hormone) and increases your brain activity – making your brain think it’s daytime instead of night, decreasing your ability to fall asleep.

5. It makes you more stressed

According to a report from the American Psychological Association, constantly checking your phone leads to increased level of stress. This increased level of stress leads to feelings of dissatisfaction with life.

Take back control

It’s a fact of modern life that mobile phones are our constant companions and it’s up to us to set healthy boundaries. A great way to defeat the overuse of mobile phones is by tracking daily usage and setting limits where possible. Luckily, many apps on the market let you see how often you are using your phone and how many hours you are plugging into different apps (probably much more than you realise). Even Apple has jumped onto the trend, with the latest iOS update including a built-in usage monitor.

Having a visual representation of the time you are wasting on Facebook, Twitter, and other apps can really help to reduce overall usage, with the added benefit of helping you to reserve your battery.

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