7 surprising ways your phone may be harming you

That scrolling habit could be doing more harm than you realise. Check out these compelling reasons why we all need more mobile phone-free time.

It’s official, we are on phones for huge amounts of time.

The average Australian spends 5.5 hours a day on their device. And while we all know we should cut down on screen time, do you really know the harms your phone may be causing?

While there’s no empirical evidence yet that links phone use to cancer, there is a scary list of other problems your scrolling habit may be causing.

1.    Repetitive strain injuries

Text claw, tech neck, smartphone pinkie, and iPhone elbow.

These are all real ailments, according to RSI and Overuse Injury Association of the ACT director Janine Robertson.

“Quite often, it’s not about texting. It’s about the way we hold the phone,” Janine says.

“It is only a small weight, but if you’re holding it all the time in a non-neutral position, it can start to cause problems.”

To avoid injury, put down your phone, use the voice activation as much as possible, and try to keep hands, wrists and elbows in a neutral position when holding, she advises.

2.    Death

That’s right, you read that correctly. Being glued to your smartphone in inappropriate scenarios has led to people dying in accidents.

Driver distraction, which includes mobile phones, is among the leading causes of car crashes.

The number of people dying from taking selfies in dangerous locations is rising, with 259 deaths reported between 2011 and 2017.

Police in some Australian states have also warned pedestrians about the dangers of device distraction when crossing the road.

3.    Digital eye strain

University of Queensland school of optometry and vision science Associate Professor Scott Read says staring at a screen for hours on end is not good for eye muscles.

“The eyes have to exert effort to point the eyes closer together at the screen and focus clearly,” Prof Read says.

“With prolonged viewing, this can give you symptoms like tired eyes, headaches, eyestrain, sometimes blurred vision.”

In worst-case scenarios, some people may develop myopia – permanent short-sightedness.

4.    Phone burns

In rare cases, people have reported severe burns from their phones.

Experts have been documenting cases of phones exploding and injuring people.

They believe that lithium-powered cellular phones are susceptible to overheating, and in rare instances, can combust.

5.    Ruined relationships

Phubbing, AKA phone snubbing, is a real thing.

This is when you put your phone in front of your relationships.

Friends and family can feel unloved if we’re checking our phone all the time rather than paying them attention, which can lead to a breakdown in intimacy and connection.

6.    Interrupted sleep

Using your phone more than eight hours a day and putting it near your bed typically results in lousy sleep, according to research.

Getting enough sleep is essential for mental and physical functioning.

It also helps cellular toxin removal, disease prevention and restoration of the body.

The consequences of sleep deprivation are serious and can put people at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and mental health disorders.

7.    Haemorrhoids and germs

Phones go with us everywhere, even into the bathroom, and recent research found some phones had more bacteria than a toilet seat.

And if you’re one of those people who take your phone into the loo, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

Every minute you spend on your phone while on the toilet, you’re increasing your risk of getting haemorrhoids due to your sitting position.