Our cellphones have become so vital to our daily lives. Research has shown that the average person checks their phone 85 times a day and that we spend a total of five hours using our cellphones to browse the web or use apps. For many, our smartphone is the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we check at bedtime. Although quick glances at our phone may seem harmless, it can in fact be affecting us physically, mentally and emotionally. We caught up with some experts who help explain the ugly side of excessive cellphones use.
- Ugly posture.
When we look down at our cellphones we are straining our necks and slouching our shoulders. Doing this can cause some serious damage to our overall posture even leading us to lose up to an inch to an inch and a half of height. “I see up to 10 patients a week complaining of severe neck and shoulder pain. When asked how often they use their phones the typical response is all the time. When pain becomes chronic and severe, surgery has to be considered,” explains Dr. Richard Samperisi, CoFounder of Campus Chiropractic Center at Florida International University & Functional Medicine Practitioner.
- Ugly eye strain, bags and wrinkles.
Not only can staring at your phone all day cause serious neck and shoulder pain, the extreme use of our phones is leading to various eye conditions such as blurred vision, eye strain, headaches and dry eyes as well as to a condition they like to call “tech neck.” For those concerned with cosmetics and eye appearance constant squinting leads to wrinkles and under eye bags. New Bern, North Carolina plastic surgeon Dr. John Zannis explains that a combination of surgical and non-surgical procedures that address under eye bags, drooping and sagging usually range from 5 – $10,000 with a recovery time of up to 2 weeks. He’s also seen a rise in complaints about neck lines and wrinkling skin attributed to excessive cell phone use.
- Ugly skin.
Are you constantly struggling with breakouts around your cheeks or chin? Instead of blaming hormones, junk food or a bad skincare routine consider looking at the device in your hand. “Our cellphones are filled with bacteria. We are continuously touching them with dirty hands, throwing them in our bags, stuffing them in our pockets or putting them on counter tops. Then without even thinking twice we put our phones right up to our ears where all of that bacterium from those dirty areas wreak havoc on our face,” offers Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Kaly Papantoniou. She suggests frequently wiping the phone screen and using a face wash with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to rid bacteria from building up.
- Ugly Manners
We see people at restaurants who are more focused on snapping a pic of their meal than enjoying each other’s company. Our persistent use of our cellphones can be affecting our relationships with the people and world around us. “When we focus more on our digital lives rather than the individuals we are with; we are not only giving off the impression that we do not care about what they have to say, we are also letting valuable and meaningful moments pass us by,” explains Dr. Sanam Hafeez a New York City based neuropsychologist and teaching faculty at Columbia University. She suggests putting the phone down and even going cell free twice a week.
Give it a try and see how cutting down on your phone use can also cut down on the ugly.