A recent study http://www.idigitaltimes.com/smartphone-addiction-statistics-reveal-1-8-are-addicted-their-phones-419714
showed that one in eight persons are addicted to their smart phones, and that the average person spends 3.6 hours each day on their device. Smart phones are everywhere, and increasing numbers of youngsters have their heads buried in smart phone use. There is a corresponding rise in the number of news articles and research reports on the negative effects of excessive use of smart phones.
The following are the physical health problems that have been reported http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/27/cell-phone-health-iphone_n_3943322.html?ir=India&ads SiteOverride=in
as results of frequent smart phone use:
• Potential hearing loss
• Text claw – soreness and cramping in fingers and wrists
• Shoulder and neck pain
• Effects of unhealthy levels of radiation (The World Health Organization warns that cell phone use may be carcinogenic to humans)
• Germs and bacteria when the smart phone is used in the bathroom
• Poor sleep quality
There is evidence also that frequent smart phone usage affects the physiological functioning of the body. One study found that when subjects were separated from their smartphones, they showed signs of elevated heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. Other researchers have found that those suffering from iPhone separation anxiety have diminished cognitive skills.
Also worrying is evidence of increasing numbers of persons who are addicted to their phones; a 2012 study reported that 66% of users were afraid to be separated from their cell phones. Addiction has been correlated to anxiety, depression, moodiness, loneliness and jealousy. There is also an obsession with physical appearance. One researcher linked addiction with narcissism. It is possible that smart phone usage prevents natural communications and relationships from forming—on the other hand that problems of relating to people turns a youngster to the more impersonal contacts of text messages. The implication is that natural developmental growth in maturation, forming relationships and taking responsibility are prevented from occurring in those who have become addicted.
A recent news article highlighted the case of a 14-year-old girl in Colorado who was taken for medical help because of severe neck pain. Sarah Littlefield liked to spend her spare time on her smart phone and typically assumed the posture of looking down on the phone. Her parents received the shock of the diagnosis received, which was “Text-Neck”: the X-rays showed a reverse curve on her spine. It was not just a muscular or tissue problem; the proper curve in her cervical spine was lost.
Sarah is now undergoing thorough treatment by Chiropractor Dr. Chad Cotter, which involves using head weights, resistance bands, and shoulder exercises to strengthen her neck and back muscles. Dr. Cotter reports seeing an increasing number of neck pains, shoulder pains and tingling of the arms in high-schoolers and said that proper treatment can counteract the effects of frequent smart phone use. The symptoms of Text-Neck are tension across the shoulders, generalized neck pain, migraine, and numbness and tingling down the arms.
To prevent text-neck, one should sit up straight when texting, roll the shoulders back and walk around. One could also stand up while working. There are now apps that will remind you to sit up straight.
Sara Littlefield’s problem, though serious, was caught in time for repair by a chiropractor. A health conscious person can practice proper postures and movements to prevent physical problems. But the addicted person faces a bigger problem and may need the help of caring others to bring a healthy balance into his or her life.