Smartphones are so indispensible nowadays. Only few years back, most of us don’t have a Smartphone. Now, it is unthinkable not to have one. Can we really live without our Smartphones?
Before I proceed further, I want to add that this article is meant for those who are considering do dump their phone and discontinue their data plan. It is not for Smartphone addicts who could not imagine life without their Smartphone.
First, as this is a health blog, I would like to touch on a some health concerns from overindulgence with the Smartphone:
Seriously, you need to literally squint to be able to see the small text on the Smartphone. If you check email or surf the net, it’s easier on the eyes when you use a laptop, netbook or even a tablet. But the fonds on the Smartphone is way, way too small. It causes strain on the eyes to try to focus on the fonts that is smaller than Arial 8.
Especially if one is engrossed in playing games- which can be very addictive. The hours staring fixedly within the small perimeter of our little handheld device- we may just accept as fact of life when we need to increase our power again…. but if we have given our eyes more rest, perhaps we can also preserve our sight or maintain the power?
2. Hearing/ ear pain
Go to a subway, gym or shopping complex and you would see most people have earphones plugged to the endless music playlist on their Samsung or iPhone. Maybe it’s just me- but I’ve tried to use earphones in the train and gym, and my ears get painful after that. And that only with moderate volume. Imagine- at the noisy shopping complex or in the train, surely we would need to turn up the volume in order to enjoy the music. It would sure hurt our eardrums. Anyway, if you google, there are many people who suffering from hearing problems when they listen to music with their earphones….. this has been prevalent even during the days of the walkman (where cassette tapes were being used).
3. Posture- especially with the head stooping forward.
I notice this especially on many people whose heads are perpectually glued to their Smartphones. When we walk or sit and try to read the small fonts, we may tend to stoop our head forward. It causes an un-natural posture where the head just sort of juts out. Some IT guys I see who are paid to troubleshoot system bugs would strain and focus on the PCs during their office hours. Then during cigarette breaks or during commuting to and fro from work, their heads would be bent trying to focus on the contents of their little gadget. Which leads to the next problem:
4. Neck and shoulder strains/ pain/ Carpel tunnel syndrome
When we are engrossed with our Samsung, Blackberry or iPhone, we would not notice that our muscles are positioned unnaturally- our shoulders are hunched, neck are forward facing, our arms are perpectually uplifted without rest……. after a while we may wonder why our shoulders, neck and arms felt stiff.
Worst if we spent too many hours surfing the net using our iPhone- till we find the convenient ‘oops, no time to exercise…’
And overuse of our fingers to type away at the touchscreen may trigger Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – a very painful condition….which may stem from shoulder strain.
After a day of working in front of the PC and laptop, it is good to give our eyes, ears, shoulders, hands and fingers a rest…..
These are only obvious physical health aspects of using the Smartphone. There are emotional, not to mention financial downsides which are not mentioned here. In subsequent article, I would attempt to cover based on my own experience with Smartphone usage.