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Have our cellphones become an extension of us?
Smartphones were created as a means to connect everyone, but now our culture seems more disconnected than ever. In a recent survey, millennials said the top three things that everyone needs are the internet, our phone, and our pet. What happened to love, water/food, and shelter? Have our priorities become skewed?
As one of the best staffing agencies in Florida, we examine the question: Do smartphones negatively impact our health?
Too Close for Comfort
Did you know that 81% of us have our smartphones within arm’s reach of us at all times? Also, 1 in 5 young people admit to checking their phone every five minutes. They go with us everywhere, from our desks, to the bathroom, to our beds.
It has become a habit to chronically check our phone to see if we missed a call, got a text, or see if a recent photo we posted on Facebook got any likes. Our phones have become a part of us and we tend to feel lost without them.
Psychological & Physical Health
It would seem that smartphones negatively impact our health psychologically and physically. Having everything at our fingertips makes it easy to isolate ourselves and encourages sedentary behavior. People don’t even have to leave their house to meet a potential mate any longer with all the dating applications available. Many young people have been using their phones to self-soothe, which prevents them from developing their own coping skills.
Does anyone really need to be reachable 24/7? The ability to be messaged by multiple avenues at any time can contribute to anxiety. With all the non-stop texting, emailing, posting, and Googling, our brains become overloaded and we quickly become mentally exhausted. Unfortunately, being without one’s cellphone can also cause anxiety since we get the feeling that we are missing out if we are not connected.
Cognition & Memory
Does the overuse of Smartphones affect the way we learn? Do they change the way we think? Scientists are not entirely sure. There may be consequences we are not aware of yet.
These days, if we can’t remember something, we instinctively reach for our phone to consult with Google. Instead we should try to challenge ourselves and recall information on our own. Relying on the internet for information contributes to memory loss, as our brain fails to store information. Our brains get lazy and we forget how to problem solve. In an article from Time’s magazine, they said, “If you’re always pulling facts from Google, you can answer a trivia question, but you’re not building up the knowledge base necessary to be a deep and deliberate thinker.”
We no longer learn how to drive places by ourselves. Why would we bother when we can simply map things out on our smartphone? In fact, 53% of people said they trust their phone’s directions more than they trust their loved ones.
There are some things we can do that may lessen our smartphone’s negative impact on our health. Our phones can be put on “do not disturb”. This way we won’t actually miss any messages, but we can get back to them at our leisure. We can leave our phones tucked away during social events, and instead connect with the people there. When walking our dog, we can leave our phones in our pockets and pay attention to our pet and the surroundings.
We can stop looking at our phones in the car, even at stoplights. While eating dinner, we can make conversation with our partner. We can try not to bring it into the bedroom, as the blue light can make falling asleep difficult by disrupting melatonin production. And is it really necessary to have it in the bathroom with us?
Just like our phones, our brains need time to recharge. It’s healthy to sit with our own thoughts once and awhile. We need to cultivate habits that do not involve our phones, like write, read, paint, draw, play an instrument, go for a hike – the possibilities are endless!
Do you think smartphones negatively impact our health? We would love to hear your feedback, so please share!
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