Smartphones are a large part of our lives whether we like it or not. They are a necessary evil to be a part of this century. Evil is a strong word because we love our smartphones and the way they keep us connected with everyone. We are the most connected human beings have ever been! We can’t help but to keep these gadgets by our side at all times.
There is an unspoken joy when we get a notification that an old friend from school has just commented on a picture asking how we are doing. It creates an addiction to check our smartphones every time we feel the buzz in our pockets. We can’t help but to continuously check them over and over. Sometimes, we feel the dake buzz in our pocket and start to think we are going crazy! Smartphones have been around for quite a few years now and they don’t look like they are just a fad. What are they doing to us now and how do they affect our lives moving forward?
If you are in a public place, take a look around. How many people do you see with their heads down starring into their screens? Do they look powerful and confident? Do they look approachable, nice, caring, and kind? If we we are really honest with ourselves, we act like zombies when we are walking and trying to type a text!
Smartphones are physically hurting us
The average head weighs 10-12 pounds (unless you are Donald Trump, yours weighs A LOT more). When we slouch our heads down at a 60 degree angle to look at our phones, we are putting the strain of 60 pounds on our necks! That is the same weight of 6 gallons of paint! Long term how do you think that effects your neck muscles, your vertebrae, and even the rest of your body helping to stabilize?
A physiotherapist out of New Zealand, Steve August calls it the “iHunch.” He’s been treating it for years and sees it effecting our bodies for the worst. Especially in teens and kids that have been growing up with smartphones
Smartphones are effecting our self image and happiness
When someone is depressed their head is down, shoulders forward, their back is slouched and their foot strides are short. Sounds like the smartphone zombie walk to me! Studies have shown over and over that your posture perfects the way you think about yourself. Have you seen the Ted talk by Amy Cuddy about how your body language effects who you are? In it, the professor speaks about different body poses and how they can positively and negatively affect your mood and your self image. It’s science, your phone is effecting your body language and that is effecting who you are.
Smartphones are ruining our posture
“Johnny sit up straight!” I think we can all here the teacher or our parents saying that to us when we were young. Who knew it would be this important? there have been plenty of studies done on this but one in particularly done in 2010 in the journal of the Brazilian Psychiatric Association that had interviewers sit in a certain posture both in a good and bad posture and asked the same questions. The interviewers that had the better posture gave better and more positive answers than their counterparts. The researchers then concluded that sitting up straight with good posture will help combat stress.
As noted previously, the smartphones are not doing anything to help our necks and head but they are effecting the way we sit, stand and how we come across to others.
How can we fix this?
This is a topic for an entirely different article, but for starters, there are a few quick and immediate things to keep us all happy, healthy and once again communicating in a better way with each other.
- When you are in a public place, unless you absolutely NEED to, stay off your phone
- When you are at the table sitting across from someone, stay off your phone. Even if they are on theirs, make an example.
- Have a day of fasting every week. Pick a day of the week and make it your “Smartphone Sabbath.” Once I did this, I realized how addicted I really was and it made me much more conscious of the amount of time I am locked on to my smartphone.
Smartphones are not evil or bad. They are a great tool to do a lot of things but we can choose if they will negatively effect or positively effect our lives.
Let’s not get rid of them but when we are in public or with someone in person, let’s get back to the basics of talking 1 on 1. It will help us in the long run more than we think.