How much time do you spend on your phone every day? Four hours, according to the app Moment. That is a lot of time, and it’s not just because we are looking at our screens- people engaged in other activities with their phones, such as listening to podcasts or taking calls, can add up quickly too.
It may seem like an innocent activity, but all that screen staring has seriously detrimental effects on how our brains work, which might be different depending on what type of phone user we are: if you use your device mostly for social media, then those changes will be more positive while less so if it’s spent using apps or watching videos (or both).
1. Less Self-Confidence
Using your phone excessively over time can lead to lower self-esteem and decreased self-confidence. Researchers at Lancaster University found that those who spend more time on social media were less satisfied with their lives than those who didn’t spend as much time on Facebook etc., even though they do have more friends online.
2. Increased Aggression
Because phones are so distracting, they can lead to serious problems like increased aggression and anti-social behavior. Another study by the Communications Research Center in Helsinki found that people were more likely to become aggressive or act aggressively when their cell phone is nearby.
3. Decreased Social Skills
Those who spent hours on social media had lower self-esteem than those who did not spend as much time online, according to a study from Lancaster University of England. Still, it goes beyond just social media platforms. Anyone who spends too much time isolated with his or her cell phone will develop less social skills than someone who does not do this. Not only that, but those with less developed communication skills may also have an easier time feeling lonely and depressed.
4. Problems Focusing
Another problem (or side effect) you could experience from using your phone too much is difficulty focusing on the things around you- whether they are tasks or people who want to interact with you somehow. A study done at the University of Michigan found that students who used their phones more often while studying had trouble ignoring distractions when asked to do so than those who didn’t use their phones as much. That affects your career prospects and the relationships with friends and family that could suffer due to a lack of focus on them.
5. Chronic Pain
A study done at Keele University found that cell phone users who felt more anxious had higher pain thresholds than those who did not use their devices as often (though this was only true for people under 50). So it seems like having a high-stress lifestyle may actually numb some of your physical sensations on its own- but using your cell phone to distract yourself from these things may cause other health problems in the long term.
6. Sleep Disorders and Insomnia
Most people already know that using their cell phones before bed can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. Now there is scientific proof that this does indeed happen. According to iphonescreenwholesale.com who used their phones for an hour or more before going to sleep had a harder time falling asleep than those who didn’t use their phones as much. It doesn’t matter whether the phone is on or off- it seems like simply having it around or thinking about using it later is enough to keep users up at night. So if you have trouble sleeping, then try cutting back on how much you use your phone in bed before you go to sleep.
7. ADHD & Reduced Academic Performance
Most of the earliest studies on phone use and its effects were done on children or teens. However, as people become more aware of the negative side effects of overusing smartphones, more research is being done on how it affects adults as well. A study at UC San Francisco found that students who used their phones for non-academic purposes after school had worse GPAs than those who didn’t. So if your child struggles with their schoolwork or seems “spacey” all the time, try limiting their cell phone use (and provide them with other stimulating activities and social interaction).
While technology may seem like an inevitable and necessary part of modern life, the truth is that there are a lot of potential negative side effects to using your phone too much. The best thing about our phones is that they allow us to communicate with each other from great distances- but they also have temptations that can negatively affect us. It’s important to realize when you have a problem to move towards fixing it rather than letting it destroy your brain over time.