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Should You be Worried About Cell Phone Addiction?

by Karen Rollins Mar 25, 2019

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An increasing amount of research seems to suggest that people are becoming more obsessed with their cell phones and this addiction is not only bad for our mental wellbeing but is detrimental to our physical health as well.

Various psychological problems linked to overuse of phones include isolation, anxiety and loneliness. So, if you’re putting more effort into virtual ‘relationships’ than physical ones, it’s probably time to adjust your phone usage.

In terms of physical impact, one area to think about is the amount of blue light our cell phones emit. According to experts this light can be damaging to the back of the eye and could even lead to long-term eye problems such as dry eyes and macular degeneration.

Blue violet light also interferes with the production of the natural sleep hormone melatonin which subsequently disrupts our sleep pattern and increases the risk of other related problems such as chronic fatigue, depression and obesity.

Another set of health issues related to overuse of cell phones and other computer-type equipment is so common it has a name – Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the symptoms of CVS can include “decreased or blurred vision, burning or stinging eyes, sensitivity to light, headache and back and neck pain.”

To reduce the effects of CVS, people are advised to take steps to control lighting and glare on the device’s screen, establish proper working distances and posture when looking at screens, and to make sure that even minor vision problems are treated quickly.

So, if you think you’re becoming too dependent on your phone, what can you do?

Psychologists provide several practical tips including:

*Don’t look at your phone first thing in the morning – make sure you get out of bed instead and spend a few minutes meditating, praying or writing in a ‘gratitude’ journal.

*Put your phone away sometimes – if your cell is visible you’re more likely to be tempted to look at it. When you’re out with friends or getting ready for bed, keep the phone out of sight and hopefully it’ll also be out of mind.

*Create daily ‘cell phone free time’ – designate hour-long time slots throughout the day when you don’t look at your phone at all. This is similar to the suggestion above but takes it a bit further.

*Don’t use your phone at bed time – at least an hour before going to bed make sure you turn off your phone and keep it switched off.

Overall, when it comes to using your cell phone it’s best to remember the phrase ‘everything in moderation’, and if you’re aware that you are using your phone too much, you’re probably already halfway to doing something about it.

Sources: Cleveland Clinic / American Optometric Association / Psychology Today / Sheerluxe