It’s clear that the genie is out of the bottle. Cell phones are everywhere, and people have come to rely on them as a part of their everyday life. We’ve all heard stories about the dangers of cell phones, but how seriously do we take them? After all, so many of us love our cell phones, and cannot imagine life without them. The companies that make cell phones and the wireless carriers are raking in billions of dollars, so they certainly don’t have any incentive to reduce cell phone use. While there are proven dangers associated with cell phones, it’s not reasonable to call on people to stop using them. There are, however, easy ways to reduce the risk cell phones pose so we can all merrily continue using our phones. Here are some of the dangers associated with cell phones and how they may be reduced.
Think about it. How many times do you handle your phone on a typical day? Now think about everything else you have handled, and you can safely assume that just about every nasty little germ you have come in contact with during the course of a normal day is also on your phone. Even hand-washing won’t fix this problem when you think about how it is normally carried out. You normally put your phone in your pocket or set it down while you wash your hands. Guess what? As soon as you pick that phone up again, you contaminate your hands again with all the nasty germs that are living on your phone. Wiping it down with alcohol or some other germ-killing cleaner once a day will help keep the germ population to a minimum on the surface of your phone.
2. CAR ACCIDENTS
Since cell phone use literally borders on addiction for many people, they find it quite difficult to stop using their phone, and particular, texting while driving. Even though texting while driving is now against the law in many places, people continue to do it, and mistakenly think that accidents only happen to other people. Take a few minutes to think about how it would feel to run down a toddler who happened into street in front of you. After an experience like that, you may find yourself wishing that you had never even heard the word “cell phone.” Avoiding a situation like that is easy. Just don’t text while driving.
3. REPETITIVE STRESS INJURY
The amount of texting some cell phone users do on a typical day would probably shock many people from older generations that did not grow up with cell phones. Though texting may be an efficient way to communicate with people, and some cell phone users are amazingly proficient at typing on those tiny keyboards, they are not immune to repetitive stress injuries that can cause pain, numbness, and general discomfort, particularly in the thumbs. These are certainly not life-threatening conditions, but some of them can be serious enough to warrant surgery. Making a voice call from time to time instead of texting will probably help cut down on the risk.
Many cell phone users may not realize it, but their phones are constantly sending and receiving signals from nearby cell phone towers when they are turned on. What’s particularly worrying is the “sending” part, which means your phone is constantly radiating energy even when it is just in your pocket. The dangers of this radiation are still a matter of intense debate, although almost everyone agrees that cell phone radiation presents a greater risk to children than to adults. Preventing children from using cell phones or greatly limiting their use is probably a very good idea.
Believe it or not, some people are actually allergic to their phones. Cell phones, being the wonders of high-tech innovation that they are, contain metals like nickel. Being exposed to nickel can result in a condition called contact dermatitis for some people. Mild symptoms normally include redness, while a more serious reaction could result in a very visible rash and even blisters on the skin. Depending on a person’s sensitivity to the materials used to make the phone, a cover might alleviate the problem, but for others, more drastic measures may be required.
6. HEARING LOSS
One of the great things about most cell phones is that you can load them up with your favorite music and listen to it on the go. The problem stems from the fact that many of us like our music loud, and that can damage hearing. It is estimated that about 30 million people have caused permanent damage to their hearing as a result of exposure to loud noise. A normal conversation registers about 60 decibels, and just taking that up to 85 decibels (which is very easy to do) can cause hearing loss. The solution is easy and obvious: Turn it down.
7. LACK OF FOCUS
Although not everyone with a phone was born with ADD or ADHD, becoming too attached to a cell phone can lead to a condition that looks a lot like it. Too many people spend too much time worrying about whether someone is texting them, or if they are missing the latest status update from their favorite celebrity’s Twitter feed or Facebook page. Focusing too much on a phone can lead to distraction that interferes with normal life, especially for people who are still in school or need to concentrate on their work. When a cell phone starts to interfere too much with normal life, it may be time to start turning it off for a while every day.
8. EYE STRAIN
One of the obvious benefits of cell phones is they are essentially small computers that you can take virtually anywhere. They can be used to surf the web, read a book and take advantage of an almost endless selection of apps. The problem is that the screens are quite small, and that can cause eye strain. As a result, cell phone users can experience headaches, blurred vision, and excessive dryness. To avoid eye strain, use the largest font you can comfortably use, take breaks when reading a lot, and keep your phone about 16 inches away when reading.
As humans, we really need some down time once in a while. That can become difficult with a constant stream of information coming at you from multiple sources that you have tapped into with your cell phone. Since cell phones are “always on” for so many people, the result can be that they find themselves feeling like they are always on as well. This can lead to stress and anxiety that cell phone users are often not even conscious of – until the stress leads to other more serious health problems like high blood pressure or depression. It’s OK to be offline, so give yourself a break and turn the thing off for a while. The world will still be out there when you turn it back on.
10. FERTILITY PROBLEMS
Been trying to conceive without much luck? Well, the cell phone that’s in your pocket all day long might have something to do with it. Medical research has proven that men who use their cell phones a lot tend to have lower sperm counts, and sperm that are not as healthy and mobile as they should be. Two theories are that the heat generated by cell phones tends to warm up the crotch area, which is not good for sperm production. The other theory is that the electromagnetic radiation cell phones constantly emit may interfere with sperm production. Keeping your phone elsewhere might help. And when you do finally conceive, remember to avoid letting your child play with your phone!