” The excessive use of mobile phones can be harmful”, is no more a mere hypothesis. Recent studies are strongly in favor that it has many harmful effects on humans, even the potential to cause cancer.
If you have any doubts that mobile phones are anyways lesser important for human survival than the discovery of fire or the invention of the wheel, here are facts.
There are more than 7 billion mobile phones in use which account for 96 phones for every 100 people on earth. In India, there are 1.18 billion active mobile phones, which means one phone each for 87% of the population. Hong Kong has 2.4 active mobile phones for every citizen in the country.
We do not need to debate the usefulness of these devices. We all have experienced how hard is to pass a single day away from it. From learning dancing to diving, from finding a doctor to date, If there is anything you can define in word, a mobile device can help you do it online.
How long do we use our mobile phones?
An average American spends more than four hours a day on mobile phones. An average India is slightly behind its American counterparts with little over 3 hours per day. Social media account for the largest share ( half) of the time spent on mobile phones. Most of the mobile phones in use are smartphones with big screens. India alone has about 300 million active smartphones.
The long duration of mobile phone usage has always been expected to cause problems. Now the scientific reports have begun to pour in, showing that mobile phone usage indeed has side- effects associated with it.
Most of the risks are benign but some of those are really serious. We start with the scariest one.
I had never heard of brain cancer until about 3 years ago. Today I hear about so many people with this horrible thing. Dya reckon mobile phones r the new cigarettes?— Brian Mannix (@mannixbrian) December 19, 2017
When a person talks on the phone, the ear, and brain are the organs near to the mobile handset. These two organs are in close contact with the radio-frequency electromagnetic fields, emitted by mobile phones.
Research experiments of mice reveal that radio-frequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phones may produce changes at the cellular level that increase the risk of cell death and cancer development in mice. What is more, is worrisome is the fact that it can be transmitted to subsequent generations.
Fortunately, a recent meta-analysis of the available data on the genetic damage in human cells has failed to validate this hypothesis.
Scientists suggest that children are at even greater increased risk of damage.
Children have thinner skull bone which offers lesser protection to their brain from radio-frequency electromagnetic fields. They have smaller heads so they receive a higher dose of exposure per unit volume of brain tissue and have increased brain conductivity.
The expert panel for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),classify cell phones as possibly carcinogenic (Group 2B) . Which means that mobile phones are as cancerous as lead (also in catagory Group 2B)
There are four types of brain tumors which are been found to have association with mobile phone usages
The current studies published in peer-reviewed journals support the hypothesis that long-term (over 10 years) use of mobile phones increases the risk of certain types of brain tumors, especially if the exposure has been predominantly on one side of the head.
The studies also say that if you have started using the phone on a regular basis before you were 20 years old, then you have four times higher risk of having glioma ( a type of brain tumor )than the normal population.
The “lifetime exposure dose.” of the total mobile use is also important. If somebody has a total lifetime exposure of ≥ 1640 h, the person has the 2.55 times higher risk of having acoustic neuroma ( another type of brain tumor), than the normal population, one side of use.
Next time, when you see your children talking on the phone, you know what to do next.
In high- and middle-income countries, one in 7 couples has a problem of infertility. Moreover, the semen quality males have been reported to be declining, for which the researcher could not associate a cause.
Recent research reports have reported that long-term use of mobile phones was associated with reduced sperm motility which is an important determinant if the sperms will be able to perform its role in conception.
Now you have a good reason to take your phone out of your pant pocket and place it somewhere else , if you are a male and have any reason to protect your sperms.
Mobile phone addiction
Mobile phones are not only getting cheaper day by day and these are also becoming more functional. Mobile phones are finding their usage in every facet of our social and professional life.
Nobody gets addicted to the phone overnight. One often starts using the phone for routine use like shopping and social media interactions.
Some of these become addicted to shopping or checking social media updates as a way to escape unpleasant feelings or boredom. The “high” experienced when shopping or getting likes or comments on social media may become a strategy to cope up with the stress and discomfort of life.
The process of addiction suggests a distinction between liking and wanting. People start the use of phones because they like the phone and its functionality but slowly the phone becomes something that they “want” . Later means that the person feels physically or psychologically uncomfortable if removed away from the phone.
The mobile phone addiction is seen as part of technological addictions which is defined as “non-chemical (behavioral) addictions that involve human-machine interaction” .
Then people began to so-called the telltale signs mobile phone-addiction.
- Frequently checking the phone. An average American checks his/her phone 110 times a day.
- Using the phone in the toilet, before going to sleep, immediately getting up in the morning, on weekend, even in the shower.
- Sleeping with the phone under the pillow or close to the bed.
4.Feeling uneasy if the phone is left at home.
- Checking job-related mails even when on vacations, etc.
Welcome to the club if you also have many of the above habits.
Road traffic and other type of accidents
Unless you are in a driver less car, it is no rocket science to understand that ,a driver needs to pay attention to the driving task, to avoid accidents.
Even a momentary distraction of driver, away from road can lead to a crash. You can not have a better distraction than the mobile phones. A report by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, estimates that it contributes to 20 -30 percent of all road accidents.
A recent research from Taiwan shows that
1. drivers were less responsive when they were having a conversation over a handheld mobile phone.
2. Female drivers were more adversely affected by mobile phone use than male drivers when faced with obstacles falling in front.
3. Older drivers were more adversely affected by mobile phone use than younger drivers.
Insufficient sleep and sleep disturbances are common among youth and adolescents around the world. From 2006 60 2011, the number of adolescents in the United States, having the sleep less than eight hours a day rose from 45% to 60%.
Ninety percent of recently punished studies report a significant association between screen time and reduced sleep duration and increased sleep problems. Studies report that the use of the mobile phone at bedtime reduces the total sleep time by 20-45 minutes.
Depression and other psychiatric disorders
Following psychiatric disorders are associated with the use of mobile phone
Headache, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, loss of appetite, sleepiness, sweating, the difficulty of concentration, memory loss, depression, emotional instability, dermographism, tremor, hallucinations, and insomnia.
Mobile phone usage contributes to obesity by following ways
- Children tend to eat more as they keep getting food-related clues by the content viewed on the mobile phone.
- Children tend to choose food that is rich in calories but poor in other nutritious values, because of excessive advertisement for fast food. Some of the unhealthy food is outright promoted as healthy foods.
- They tend to delegate more time in physically inactive work like screen viewing than physical activities like playing.
- Changes in the sleep pattern may also have contributed to the overall issue of obesity in these children.
Concluding : As it is scientifically established that excessive mobile phone usage is indeed harmful, we should try to limit its use, as is possible.
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