Updated: Jan 1
Hey guys, and welcome to another blog post!
So those of you that follow me on social media will know that I have recently been taking part in the 48 Hour Challenge, a challenge to switch off your phone for the weekend so that you can truly connect and be present with yourself, your family, friends and whatever plans you might have. It's such an awesome challenge and I really encourage you to give it a go. Even if you don't switch off your phone, at least try not going on social media for the weekend, or maybe start implementing some healthy boundaries, like no screens before bed or first thing in the morning. If you feel like that's impossible and you need your phone to survive, well maybe this blog post will change your mind and inspire you to start spending less time on your phone/screen.
To be completely honest, I felt very tempted to never switch my phone on again after doing the research for this blog, but of course that wouldn't be very realistic! But the truth is in our modern, fast-paced world today cell phones and screens in general surround us all the time. They're like another limb or a second brain. A majority of peoples' lives revolve and depend on phones and computers. From work to play, cell phones have become a major part in our society, with an approximate 6 billion people cell phone users world wide. That's crazy when you compare the fact that out of our population of 7.7 billion people, only 4.2 billion people have access to a running toilet. But this dependency on the convenience of our cell phones comes with some major inconveniences. Let's start off with getting know our handy "back-pocket" friends a little better.
Electromagnetics, radiation and sine waves - a lot more goes into that quick phone call than you think.
Small amounts of electromagnetic radiation are emitted by a cell phone in order for it to operate. The important thing to know is that electromagnetic radiation is split into two different categories:
The difference? Ionizing radiation has enough electromagnetic energy to actually remove molecules from cells. Examples of ionizing radiation include Gamma Rays and X-Rays and that's why radiologists are required to where protective vests whilst capturing X-Rays, so that their cells are protected from the harmful radiation. Don't ask me where this leaves the X-Ray patient, because it definitely doesn't sound good!
Non-ionizing radiation on the other hand is usually safe, since it doesn't have enough electromagnetic radiation to cause serious damage, however heat is usually created by these kinds of radioactive rays. Microwaves and radio frequency radiation are examples of this kind of radiation.
So what type of radiation do cell phones emit?
Well, cell phones actually fall into the category of non-ionizing radiation. I know, for one scary moment I was absolutely certain that cell phones would emit ionizing radiation and that we were all doomed, but don't worry guys our cells should all be fine! However, don't start celebrating too quickly.....
Cell phones could be the reason you're not living your best life.
It's true, our cell phones are extremely useful and allow us to do all kinds of wonderful things. But they could be the reason you're not feeling so great....
Think about how much time you spend behind a screen, the average person spends about 5 hours a day on their phone and computer. Ever experienced back pain or neck aches? Well, your screen could be the reason. When we look down at our phones or hunch behind our computers the angle of our spines bend to the equivalent of an 8 year child sitting on your back. That's crazy, can you imagine carrying a child on your back for 5 hours a day. You would have some serious back pain, and many people nowadays, whether they're young or old, experience back/neck issues. Especially young people who should have beautiful posture and be pain free are forced to, first, hunch at their school desks and then any spare time they do have is usually spent bent over their phone screens. This also links to poor eyesight and an increase in Myopia (near sightedness). In North America nearly half the population has Myopia and in Asia a scary 80-90% of the population suffer from near sightedness.
Do you suffer from bad sleep?
Phone screens emit a blue light which directly effects our production of Melatonin, the hormone in charge of our sleep-wake cycle. When we don't produce enough Melatonin our Circadian Rhythm (our body's internal clock) gets pushed out of whack and we suffer from disrupted or very light sleep and our bodies don't spend enough time in that vital deep sleep. Lack of proper sleep has been linked to diabetes, obesity and even cancer.
Nomophobia: the phobia or fear of no phone contact.
Stress, anxiety and depression are also consequences of too much screen time. Let alone the fact that poor sleep affects our moods, our cell phones have been made to be so addictive that we actually feel stressed, anxious and even depressed if we don't them near us. Things like social media are also major causes of stress and depression. People, especially young girls and women, spend hours a day scrolling through social media, comparing themselves, their lives and their bodies to images of models and celebrities in perfectly photo shopped pictures. Stress and anxiety is spiked around how many likes or how many followers on has, and the constant need to check for messages or notifications becomes obsessive. people don't know how to live anymore without their cell phones. Kids don't know how to play or keep themselves entertained without the use of a screen. Studies show that 93% of people aged 18-29 use their phones as a distraction or to combat boredom.
But why are cell phones so addicting and how did we get caught in the trap?
Cell phones work off of something like a reward system. Whether it's video games, messages, likes or followers on social media, when we go on our phones we are usually rewarded by something. Each time we receive, say a message or get a new like, each time we are rewarded our brain lets off a little burst of dopamine. Now I'm sure you've heard of dopamine, a lot of people know it has the 'happy hormone', but did you know that its actually our 'seeking' hormone? Its the hormone that makes us want more. And so when we receive our reward and our brain gives us that little burst of dopamine, that little burst then makes us want more and then more and more and becomes this viscous little cycle or what is called the Compulsion Loop, and it is that same little loop that is linked to the behaviours of nicotine or cocaine. Scary, right?
The effects of cell phones aren't limited to humanity, our planet may be suffering even more...
But I think I'll save that for another post, I don't want to leave you feeling doomed! No, don't worry its not all bad news and just like with everything we have the power to make a change. We are in control of our own lives and we can control the impacts that we have on ourselves and the planet.
I really hope you found this article interesting and that you become a little more conscious of the amount of time you spend behind a screen. I know, a lot of us use our phones and computers for work but just start to be a little more mindful of your screen habits and maybe even give the 48 Hour Challenge a go.
Stay tuned for part 2 coming on Friday and maybe even a little something over on my YouTube channel!
Wishing you a beautiful day or night, whenever you're reading this