The teens and tweens of today are born into a smartphone generation. Even parents are succumbing to the average 5″ by 5″ screen, constantly checking their notifications, going through their emails, and reading the latest news. Needless to say, it isn’t healthy — and here are a few reasons to give it a rest.
#1. You’ll be way happier
Studies show that not checking your phone (or just turning it off) makes you happier. It isn’t the immediate effect of turning your phone off that does this, but the fact that oftentimes, we use our phones and social media to compare our lives with others, distract ourselves with work, and generally miss out on crucial times when we should be enjoying life.
#2. You’ll be healthier
According to Forbes, we’ve been spending more time staring at our phones than we have been staring at the TV in recent times. This shift from one screen to the other reminds us of one of the bigger dangers of technological distraction — avoiding exercise.
#3. You’ll keep your eyesight longer
Staring at your screen for too long causes eye problems — in as early as your late teens. Spending too much time on your phone leads to headaches, dizziness, and soreness in the eyes and neck. Remember to blink now and again, and take your eyes off the screen and stare into the distance to reduce your chances of problems later down the road.
#4. You’ll be more aware of what’s going on around you
Smartphones keep us connected with the rest of the world, but they also distract us from what’s closest to us in our lives. We’re always told life is short — doesn’t that mean you should spend more of it with your friends and family, instead of worrying about strangers on Facebook or gushing over the lives of remote celebrities?
#5. It can help you stave off a ridiculous fear
The fear of not being in contact with your mobile phone is called nomophobia, and we all either suffer from it or know someone who does. This has side-effects — the emotional dependency so many of us have towards our phones borders on dangerous reliability.
#6. You’ll dodge crazy phantom vibrations
Y’know that feeling you get when your leg tingles a little, and you go to check your phone only to discover that nothing’s happened? That’s called a phantom vibration, and it’s so pervasive that it’s mentally ingrained in most of us. One college researcher discovered that 89% of her undergraduates suffered from phantom vibrations.
#7. It’ll improve your posture
Tilting your head down to look at your phone puts massive amounts of pressure on your spine — titling 45 degrees equates to as much as 49 pounds of pressure. Seeing how we spend 2 to 4 hours on average in a position like that, walking around or sitting down, we’re gradually damaging our spines. Taking breaks, engaging in exercise and sitting up straight are all ways to alleviate the pressure, and strengthen the spine.
#8. You’ll sleep better
The blue light from smartphones interferes with your body’s biological clock, fooling it into thinking it’s a certain time of day and thus inhibiting melatonin sensors from making you feel tired (a bit like what coffee does). The result? Restless nights and the urge to check your emails way past bedtime.
#9. You’ll stop missing opportunities
Opportunities in life are everywhere — you just have to keep your eyes open. The chance to make a new sudden friend, meet your soulmate or net the biggest business deal in your life at the pub or in a coffee shop disappears when you close yourself off from the world around you all the time. Do you want to experience life? Look up and around, and put your phone away.
#10. It’ll help you live longer
Bad posture, eating aloof, missing sleep and compromising on exercise racks up to a pretty bad medical bill — one that won’t have you living a very comfortable or long life down the road. Being healthy isn’t just about stacking decades onto your gravestone, but about enjoying those decades, too, and any addiction will get in the way of that — even when it’s an addiction to your phone.