There’s no doubt that mobile phones make our lives easier and more fun. But there’s always a downside and in this case it’s the mobile phone health risks that come along with that convenience.
It’s not easy to think about the ways mobile phones might be damaging your health, and that of your family. There’s also lots of misinformation around, which doesn’t help.
The main mobile phone health risks
There are different ways mobile phones pose a risk to your health. Some are to do with how we use our phones – easy access to social media that can cause anxiety and depression, for instance. There are cases of cell phone addiction where people check their phone constantly.
Others are linked to the entertainment value of our phones, making screen time easy and more portable. This is especially a problem in child development where too much screen time can cause developmental, social and emotional issues.
Finally, there’s the physical effects of our phones. Mobile phone radiation is an essential part of how phones work and is impossible to avoid. It is emitted from phones to connect to the network, as well as being a side effect of electrical devices. This radiation can pass through the body and damage cells and DNA.
- Cancer scares – We’ve all seen the scary headlines about mobile phones causing cancer. The science is still developing and the jury is still out. But the World Health Organisation classified mobile phone radiation as a level 2B threat and “possibly carcinogenic to humans” which means it could cause cancer.
- Sleep deprivation – The beeping of your phone with a new message just as you are drifting off is one thing. But using a mobile phone close to bedtime messes with your natural sleep hormones. This can cause sleep deprivation, which has many knock-on effects like stress, obesity and heart disease.
- Male infertility – More and more studies are showing a clear link between mobile phone use and male infertility. The mobile phone radiation damages developing sperm in an effect some scientists compared to “cooking” sperm.
How you can beat mobile phone health risks
You don’t have to get rid of your phone to avoid the risks. You can balance the risk with the rewards of your mobile by taking just a few simple precautions.
Mind the gap – put some space between you and your phone. Leave it in the other room while you eat, or watch a movie. Mobile phones lead to more work – up to two hours a day extra for some people! Too much social media can lead to stress and anxiety.
Kick it out of bed – Your phone does not need to be in bed with you. A lot of people sleep with their phone under their pillow, next to their bed, or on their nightstand. Not only does it give you exposure to all that mobile phone radiation it’s also proven to be bad for your sleep.
Young people need breaks – Teenagers and children shouldn’t have their phone with them overnight. Phones bring anxiety, social media, sleepless scrolling and sleep deprivation into the bedroom. They should also be getting plenty of breaks from their phone at other times.
Make a plan for how to deal with the side effects of mobile phones. Then take action to lower your mobile phone health risks. It’s just a few simple steps that will save you worry – and perhaps your health.