Are smart devices bad for your health?
Smart devices have become the tool of choice for most people because of their convenience and versatility. According to CEFRIO,* smartphone use continues to rise among adults in Quebec; over half of them own one (52.3%), representing a 35% increase over 2010 (16.9%).
Owning a smart device is not a problem in itself, whether it’s a mobile device or even a tablet computer, but you must know how to use it in moderation and respect usage rules to minimize negative impacts on your health.
Intense and excessive use of laptops and tablet computers can cause pain that may become debilitating. The human body was not designed to perform repetitive movements for several hours on a daily basis. As such it is possible that inflammation may eventually occur. For example, using a mobile device keyboard may result in tendinitis and persisting discomfort in the joints, wrists and especially thumbs.
It goes without saying that bending your head while writing or reading emails or text messages can cause serious neck and back pain.
Finally, using the keyboard on mobile devices or tablets often requires resting your hands on a higher surface, such as a table, which also results in an elevation of the trapezius muscles and an increase of tension in that area. Adopting proactive behaviour can significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Here are a few tips!
- Take a break every fifteen minutes.
- Use an external keyboard, preferably on a lower surface.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and elbows near the body.
- Keep your hands, wrists, forearms and thighs parallel to the ground. Sleep deprivation According to a recent study, exposure to LED (Light Emitting Diodes) rays emitted by most electronic devices can disrupt biological cycles and increase the risk of sleep deprivation. In addition to reducing quality of sleep, this light slows down the activity of neurons that trigger sleep and activates “wake‑up” neurons. It is recommended to keep smart devices away from your room and to set these devices aside some time before going to bed.
Beware of bacteria!
By using your smartphone everywhere, all the time, it can end up teeming with germs, up to 18 times more than in an average toilet bowl!
A few tips for a healthy smartphone
- Avoid lending your phone or borrowing someone else’s as much as possible.
- Wash your hands several times a day.
- Soak a cloth in water and dish soap, squeeze it, and wash your screen. Avoid alcohol-based products. They may damage the surface of your touch screens.
Use of mobile devices in public… a few words on etiquette
It is becoming increasingly more common for people to answer a call while they’re with someone or in the middle of a meeting. Is this a lack of respect? Here are a few notes on mobile phone etiquette:
- Inform others in advance that you must take the call because it is important.
- Ask if others mind before answering.
- Do not leave the phone on the table.
- Opt for the ‘’vibration’’ mode.
In a car…
Despite efforts by the government to raise awareness, including powerful television ads and legislation making it illegal to use a cell phone while driving, many drivers continue to do so. A study conducted by the Health Science Center of the University of North Texas in 2010 determined that over 16,000 deaths on the roads of North America could be attributed to sending or receiving text messages while driving.
Furthermore, even the use of a GPS, for example, reduces the driver’s attention by 30%, about the same as talking on a cell phone while driving.
Did you know…
The smart devices phenomenon has created a new source of stress: nomophobia. Nomophobia is the fear of forgetting your mobile phone (or charger) at home, resulting in a great deal of stress for those who suffer from it.
In order to continue benefiting from the advantages of these now indispensible devices without experiencing their drawbacks, prevention is always the best option.