Ten years ago, 34 million people in the United States owned a cell phone. Ten years later, that number has gone up by 169 million, and people are spending more time on their cell phones than ever before. The amount of time spent gazing mindlessly at a screen is far too high, and it is taking a toll on all of us. It is affecting our health, relationships, and our ability to think creatively. This generation is being raised in a technology-dependent world, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
A study done by the British Chiropractic Association has recently found that many young adults are suffering from neck and back, and evidence is pointing towards the use of mobile devices as the number one cause. Kenneth Hansraj, a New York spine surgeon, also found that when tilting you head at a 60 degree angle, you are putting 60 pounds of pressure on your neck. This can cause neck and back pain, and is a serious detriment to your health. Using your smart phone before bed can also mess with your normal sleep cycle. The light being given off from your smart phone, especially blue light, tells your brain to keep going, it’s not time to shut down just yet. To solve this, researchers recommend turning off all your electronic devices, including your cell phone, at least half an hour before you go to bed.
Cell phones are a great way to connect with people you can’t be face to face with, but they are ruining our real life relationships. Far too often, people can be found in restaurants or public places glued to their phone, instead of connecting with the person they’re with. When talking to someone, it’s important to be able to see their facial expressions and be tuned in to what they’re saying, but distractions such as a cell phone limit our ability to tune in on social cues given by the people we’re interacting with. It makes us look like we’re less interested in what a person has to say. We’re telling them that we would rather be somewhere else other than with them, and that’s not helping build our relationships at all. Not only are cell phones ruining our relationships, they’re also limiting our abilities to think creatively.
“Numerous studies and much accepted wisdom suggest that time spent doing nothing, being bored, is beneficial for sparking and sustaining creativity.” (Jessica Stillman, 2013) When our brain is constantly being engaged, we aren’t able to slow down and take a minute to think creatively on our own. Being able to think for ourselves is an essential part of everyday life, and being on a cell phone 24/7 negatively compensates for any creativity that might take place. Google takes the place of books, leaving us reliant on information to come quickly, instead of having to physically search for it. Although some of us rely on our phones to work or stay in touch with important people, it’s important to take a break from all the mental stimulation and do something productive and worthwhile.
The time we spend looking at our cell phones is way too high, and it’s taking a toll on our health, relationships, and ability to think creatively. It’s imperative that we take long breaks from our hand-held devices and discover what the world around us has to offer, because believe it or not, there’s more to life than gazing at your cell phone screen.