Think overusing smartphones doesn’t have physical side effects? Think Again. If your best friend told you that your smartphone addiction has actual physical side effects that were affecting your health, you probably would laugh and shrug it off. But according to doctors, perhaps you should be listening to that friend after all. Beyond the psychological problems and the resulting anxiety engendered by always needing to use a smartphone, there are actual physical side effects of such extreme behavior. Doctors have been doing their best to keep up with the storm of smartphone addiction and the new physical difficulties that go hand-in-hand. Here is a list of four physical side effects of your smartphone addiction that are a lot more serious than you think and could have long-lasting consequences:
- iPosture: How often do you see people obsessively slouching over their phones for hours at a time? Slouching strains the neck and back muscles. According to a “simplyhealth” study of young adults that was conducted in the United Kingdom, 84% experienced back or neck pain in 2013. This is likely the result of being hunched over modern technological devices.
- Computer Vision Syndrome: Did you think that staring at that small screen for hours would actually help your eyes? Squinting to see the miniscule font in your texts as you read through the latest Facebook updates leads to eyestrain, blurred vision, dizziness, and dry eyes. When combined with the back pain caused by iPosture, the negative consequences can be headaches and even migraines.
- Text Claw: Although it is not a medical term, text claw describes all of the finger cramping and sore hand muscles that come from continuous scrolling, texting, and gaming on smartphones. Doctors believe that the constant use of smartphones can cause inflammation in tendons, and possibly lead to tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Phantom Smartphone Vibration Syndrome: What’s happening in my pocket? Is someone trying to text or call me? Is my ringer off? Isn’t that my smartphone vibrating? According to Dr. Michelle Drouin, a professor at Indiana University-Purdue University, 89% of the undergraduates in her study had experienced phantom smartphone vibrations when their phones were not actually vibrating or not even in their pockets. Students dependent on text messages and social media updates became anxious and upset because the phantom vibration was not real.
Although this article focuses on only four physical symptoms of smartphone addiction, the common experience of the psychological dependence—nomophobia—on a smartphone is quite problematic as well. Basically, at some point, human beings might be forced to choose between being 100% connected anywhere anytime and just being healthy.