By: Victoria Ouyang
In the past ten years, the iPhone has benefited many people across the world. But, did you know that could actually be harming you? Yes, our beloved devices might be causing our demise. Find out how here.
It was ten years ago on January 9, 2007 when then Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world and changed our lives forever. Now, in 2017, nearly half of all smartphone users in the U.S. use an Apple iPhone. It’s hard to imagine a world where no one is bending over a screen, but that was the reality a mere decade ago.
Since its inception, the iPhone has provided millions of people across the globe with constant access to the internet services from different apps, such as games, maps, and health monitors. But, many researchers are concerned with the ways the iPhone could be damaging our health and relationships. A series of studies have concluded that our beloved devices may have serious negative consequences on our lives.
A study conducted by the University of Essex investigated the effects a mobile phone creates during in person conversations. Researchers paired seventy-four strangers and gave them ten minutes to discuss a significant aspect of their lives. However, only half of the pairs were allowed to have their mobile phone present. The results of the study showed that those with a phone were perceived as unhappy and unfriendly by their partner.
As if declining relationships were not enough, the use of cell phones has also been shown to increase stress levels. In a study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, researchers examined the link between phones and mental health symptoms in young adults. They found that increased mobile phone usage was associated with stress, sleep disturbance, and even signs of depression for young adults.
It is extremely common for cell phone users to tilt down to look at their phones. This is not only bad for posture, but also our spines. Tilting our heads too much can lead to neck and back pain, which can range from a chronic, nagging pain to even more severe upper back muscle spasms. Additionally, text messaging and email can eventually result in tendonitis or inflammation, causing pain in our hands.
However, it is our vision that truly runs the most risk, as the eyes are particularly vulnerable to heating effects from radio waves emitted from mobile phones. Furthermore, the smaller-scale screens of phones force people to increasingly squint and strain their eyes. Naturally, people often resort to bringing the device closer to their faces and avoiding blinking, only further damaging our eyes and increasing the risks of potential vision problems.
Mrs. Akers, who is the Assistant Director of Libraries at St. Mary’s, says, “Every major technological change results in a series of trade-offs. The positive impact of the iPhone is greater than the negative, but it certainly has shown us that we need to be more intentional about unplugging, focusing, and letting ourselves be bored.”