Our smart phone has become our “round the clock” companion. Don’t you keep it close almost all the time? Don’t you feel that it would be difficult to get through the day without your phone? In fact we hate it when our phone goes off even for an hour. Some might even start worrying. Needless to say, there is a lot, smart phones helps us with. They keep us online, connected and entertained. It is important to point out that smart phones have changed the way we access internet and benefit from the mini computers that they are. We are empowered as we access information and interact with everyone all the time, on the go. Above all its fun playing games, tweeting, managing our mails or Facebook likes, all at the same point of time. However, there is also a flip side to the smart phones, we carry and use, without giving a thought to the dangers it might pose. Following are the top ten dangers. I call them “dangers” coz they can be avoided if you use your smartphones a little smartly!
1. You and your behavior alterations.
The reason why this is at the number one spot is this: Your smart phone might be affecting your thought process, behavior and attitudes in a more negative and faster way than you think. It does that so subtly and secretly that it becomes difficult to identify and cope up with. It is not an exaggeration to say that smart phones have the power to influence most important decision making processes and choices. In effect it changes your personality, it changes you! Just a simple habit of posting “selfies”, a trend boosted by smart phones, has an effect on one’s self-image. Smart Phone addiction is a well-recognized condition, known to cause trauma and high level anxiety pangs. Addiction to remain online, compulsion to be active on social sites leads to low productivity and impacts the emotional health of the person. Constantly looking for something interesting on web, social sites and games inhibits ones emotional ability to focus on one topic for long. Its proven now that long hours of gaming makes you impatient, addicted and unproductive since you drain out so much emotional and mental energy on them. Long time effects may be worse, permanent and affecting the more subconscious layer of behavior. So keep your phone away for a while and enjoy all the other good things life has to offer.
2. Hurting your eyes.
Read this one carefully with eyes wide open, notice the small fonts and see the colors change! Well you will not see any color change here but you strain your eyes much more when you are playing or texting on your beloved phones. And since you have it all the time you strain your eyes all the time. The abrupt change in graphics, brightness and details while you are gaming is one of the main causes of chronic dry eye syndrome. Your sincere attempts to not to miss a single detail, makes your eyes bear a tremendous amount of reflexes, stress and dryness. Before the eyes can relax and recover there is a new job ready again within that screen that it’s sick of.
Surprise! Surprise! We can’t thank our phones enough, to keep us connected and online, but there is a definite disconnect that it brings along. As long as you are engrossed in your smartphones, you are disconnected from the immediate surroundings and ongoing events. Philosophically, you are disconnected from yourself! It may appear to be rhetorical at first but you will soon agree once you look at these stunning facts. About 20-25% of car accidents happening in US are attributed to smart phones. Walking or crossing the roads with distracted attention due to smartphones is now becoming a major concern. Children are at the maximum risks of such distractions and meeting accidents.
4. Lifestyle diseases.
Hyperactive to hyper stressed takes much less time nowadays, thanks to our phones. It is common to see teenagers and even adults exhausted of the long hours spent on smartphone, be it games or surfing net. It impacts the digestion, breathing rate and heart beat rate. Smart phones have become a new enemy to our sleep in terms of quality and time. Apart from that, the hours that otherwise might have been spent exercising, going out, getting fresh air in parks, interacting with your loved or even pets are all taken up by your smart phones. It’s hard to imagine all this making us healthy! Next time when you are consumed by your phone, take a break and breathe, breathe long and easy. You will at once feel the kind of stress it has relieved you from!
5. Posture related ailments.
There are many diseases resulting from wrong postures while working for long hours. Gazing into your phone for long time with neck bent and arms in a fixed position pose a serious health risk. Pain, muscle spasms and restlessness are just short term effects. In the longer run permanent or chronic diseases may occur. Cervical spondylitis, golfer elbow, chronic dry eye syndrome, stiffness in thumbs, neck and back are a few diseases occurring from habituated wrong postures of using smart phones. The typical head down and neck bent position while one is engrossed in their favorite games or chat should be consciously avoided.
6. Money Theft
It may sound surprising but a smart phone can actually provide more than one way to steal money.
There are games and utility apps which actually do the job of keeping records of information. The information targeted is that of the banking or payment apps. Secondly there are many apps which claim to be absolutely free to install and use, but often asks for your credit card information while downloading or installation. Once the user start using such apps, they charge the user without even asking. In short, they cheat, they steal. Often the reason stated by such apps is that certain features of the app weren’t free.
7. Spywares – secret threat to security.
It is now well known that there are certain programs that can easily steal your location and communicate to another program without even letting you know. Gone are the days when one needs to have a very advanced technology or high degree of commitment to keep track of another person. Recently there were reports that few malwares can click photos from your smart phone cameras and send it online. Such programs are a threat to one’s personal life, information and security. It is advisable to have an antivirus installed on your phone and keep a strong check on what you are doing on the internet.
8. Leakage of important data.
You might be used to accessing internet from the browser in your phone and that too without a firewall or an antivirus. There are a number of malwares and viruses waiting to take advantage of just that. It is an especially dangerous situation with smart phones. Why? Well because one seldom logs out (of course because your phone is personal and you don’t need to) from the frequently visited sites and apps. And because of this, your passwords and IDs might always be stored in your browsing history or app data. Now in case of an attack it is very easy for any malware to steal or leak your important data. Your personal data, photos and whatever you might be working on your smart phone is at risk. It might be personal, financial or a threat to your security.
9. Relationship issues
Psychologists have conducted numerous experiments to prove that the presence of a smart phone degrades the timely attention; one invests in a relationship. Now how does that happen, when there are a number of messaging and calling apps, let alone the social media sites? It’s not the online attention but the offline attention that is affected. To connect genuinely to your loved ones you need genuine attention, time, interest and energy. But this seems to be taken away by the phones we carry. The friendship maintained on digital media can never be a substitute for the time spent together. That was some direct damage. Now take into account the damage done by actually remaining active on with so many people on social media sites. It may sound surprising but a number of researches prove that it actually harms your personal relationships.
10. Harmful Radiations.
While it is still a subject of debate, the possibility of health issues arising from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and induction charging have not been ruled out. Numerous studies have shown that there might be health issues arising due to prolonged exposure to mobile signals and radio frequency radiations. Some phone companies have funded researches to prove such claims to be baseless; however, their involvement directly represents conflict of interests. International Agency for Research on Cancer also recognizes that the radiations may be carcinogenic. The exact impact of such radiation can be determined only by research extending over a long period of time, since the way it affects the functions of our cells is slow and differentially small. For now try to keep that phone away from your body when you can and use a headphone while on call. Specially avoid calling and charging at the same time.