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Annabel Olah

Wife | Mom | Teacher

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2017 | Unplug & Hug 

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Are Smartphones Affecting Your Health?

October 22, 2017

 

I've talked a lot about the social and personal benefits of unplugging.

 

When we unplug we are able to make one-on-one human connections and forge stronger personal bonds with our loved ones. Shutting down periodically also provides opportunities to appreciate the beauty of nature, do hands-on activities with our kids, explore our hobbies, be more productive at work and get in touch with our inner selves through things like meditation and exercise. (For me, that also includes a healthy dose of retail therapy!)

 

But unplugging is also a way to stave off health issues associated with the over-use of our phones, tablets and computers. And there are many. An abundance of research shows a direct correlation between the use of digital devices and things like increased stress levels, decreased attention span (especially in our kids), radiation and cancer. 

 

Using our Smartphones, tablets, smart watches and computers is unavoidable in our (ever growing) digital world. We need them to connect with friends, family and co-workers, do our jobs and perform the mundane tasks of daily life. But it's crucial that we get the facts on the health risks associated with them. 

 

So, I've put together a handy list of articles that explain them in simple, straightforward and plain terms. I was enlightened by this informative (and sometimes, surprising) info, and I hope you will be, too. I encourage you to get the facts about how mobiles can impact your health because, after all, knowledge is power!

 

  • The National Cancer Institute (NIH) explains the impacts of digital devices at the cellular level, including radiation and certain types of cancer.

  • ABC News explains how Smartphones cause the spreading of germs (wipe down your phone every day!), decreased hearing (from loud music, in particular), stress on our thumbs (bet you never considered that!) and the interesting phenomenon of 'phantom vibrations' (fascinating).

  • Medical Daily talks about health risks like increased stress levels, impaired vision and a weaker immune system. 

  • Time Magazine explains how multitasking leads to a decreased attention span (saying we now collectively have 'the attention span of a goldfish!')

  • WebMD details how cell phones impact kids, particularly highlighting their heightened sensitivity to radiation. 

  • NPR explores the emotional stress that texting and social media puts on kids, even saying that they could be 'making kids unhappy.'

 

Don't get me wrong.

 

I'm not suggesting trashing our digital devices. There's a time, place and definite need for them as a way to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues; find exceptional teaching tools for our kids; and acquire new information and skills. (How would I be able to share this information with you without the Internet?!?)

 

I'm simply suggesting that we educate ourselves, and advocating for putting down our devices a little more often. Try taking a break every now and then. 

 

Find the balance that's right for you. 

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