Broad Topic: Smartphones
Narrowed Topic: Health complications caused by the excessive use of smartphones.
Research Question: Why does the excessive use of smartphones impacts human health negatively?
The excessive use of smartphones is a prevalent phenomenon in the developing world. According to Hussung (2017) the average user of a smartphone would have approximately 2 hours of screen time per day, whereas, excessive users interacted with their phones approximately twice as much. Even though the advent of smartphones can be used beneficially, the excessive use of smartphones has many negative effects that can lead to adverse consequences which may have a major impact on the optimal functioning of the body. This research paper will discuss three reasons the excessive use of smartphones negatively impacts human health.
The first reason the excessive use of smartphones impacts human health negatively is because it reduces the amount of physical activity done daily. It decreases physical activity because it increases sedentary time. Bond (2014). According to Kim (2015) the excessive users of smartphones conducted less physical activity compared to an average user who conducted approximately 5000 steps per day while the excessive user did approximately 3000 steps per day. Kim (2015) also revealed that an excessive user of smartphones had a higher fat mass composition than the average users of smartphones. The excessive use of smartphones therefore results in a build up of fat mass in the body due to the increasing amounts of sedentary time. A build up of fat mass can lead to obesity and obesity often leads to cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. The decrease in physical activity may also result in other health complications.
The decrease in physical inactivity can lead to certain cancer due to the excessive use of smartphones. National Cancer Institute (2017). The study proved that individuals who were physically active had a 24% lower risk of colon cancer compared to individuals who were physically inactive. The decrease in physical activity can affect growth factors and lower hormone levels such as insulin and oestrogen which are associated with cancer development. Based on the research there is a correlation between physical inactivity and certain cancers such colon cancer, endometrial cancer and breast cancer. However, there are other variables associated to the development of cancer as it relates to the excessive use of smartphones.
The second reason the excessive use of smartphones impacts human health negatively is that cell phones give off electromagnetic radiation which are harmful to body. The radiofrequency radiation emitted from cell phones also affects the brain. A study conducted by Forouharmajd, Ebrahimi and Pourabdian (2018) showed that an increase usage of cell phones causes worry about the radiofrequency waves they emit, because after a 30-minute phone conversation a 4.5 degree Celsius increase was seen in the temperature of the brain. The study also went on to state memory weakness, headache and fatigue are some effects of the increased brain tissue temperature during and after phone conversations over an extended period. Therefore, people are at risk of exposing themselves to radiofrequency radiation affecting their brain tissue the longer they spend on cell phone conversations.
The electromagnetic radiation, that is, radio waves, from mobile phone can also affect male sex cells. According to Sellman (2005) the excessive use of mobile phone results in high emissions of radio waves which drastically reduce men’s sex drive. It was also stated that radio waves from mobile phones decreases sperm count by at least 30 percent if the phone is kept near the waist. The severity of damage done to the sex cells can also be determined by the hours of exposure to the smart phone and the distance away from the smart phone. Electromagnetic frequency refers to the amount of radiation emitted from cell phones or electrical appliances and can be seen as the main pollutant in the environment. Scientists discovered that rats that were exposed to electromagnetic frequency from mobile phones had extremely less testosterone in their bloodstream than those who were not exposed to the electromagnetic frequency. Therefore, using the smart phone excessively can affect the male sex cells because the anatomy of animals is like that of humans hence it is safe to say humans will also have less testosterone in their bloodstream. In the same breath, smart phones can also affect one’s posture.
The third reason as to why the excessive use of smartphones causes health complications according to is because it imposes physiological strain on the body, resulting in bad posture causing pain due to neck and shoulder muscle fatigue which if left untreated could develop into cervical disc compression. The weakening of these muscles results in the lessened stability of the spinae muscles which helps to keep the spine neutral as according to Man-sig (2015). It was also noticed that not keeping a neutral spine could result in less frequency of headaches because of less time that the neck and shoulder muscles spend under tension. This can furthermore develop the into more serious issues such as cervical radiculopathy which can lead to muscular and sensory deficiencies around the body. Cervical radiculopathy causes the compression of nerve roots along the spinal cord resulting in pain, numbness and loss of functions of various body parts in the body. A study was conducted, and it was realized that there was a direct correlation of increased use or prolonged use of smartphones with neck pain. However, these problems can be alleviated or remediated with correction of posture.
This concludes the main three reasons as to why the excessive use of smartphones causes health complications as it reduces physical activity done while increasing sedentary time as frequent or prolonged use while more likely than not result in one performing physical tasks, as of such the ability to fight off various illnesses and diseases become harder. Secondly is that cell phones give off electromagnetic radiation which is harmful to body; emitting radiofrequency radiation affects the brain causing headaches fatigue and states of memory weakness. The radiofrequency radiation has also been found to be harmful in the production of sperm cells as the waves interferes with the production causing mutations as well as decreased volume of sperm count.
Thirdly they cause physiological strain on the body causing bad posture which leads to musculoskeletal problems causing muscle fatigue thus causing bad posture. This results in pain accompanied with the loss of sensory and motor functions around the body.
Bond, D. (2014). B-Mobile- a Smartphone based Intervention to Reduce Sedentary time in
Overweight/ obese individuals a within-subjects experimental trial. PLoSOne, 9(6), 1-8,
Doi:10.1371/ journal.pone. 0100821
Fischer. (2015). Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve). OrthoInfo from the American Academy of
Orthopedic Surgeons. Retrieved from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/cervical-radiculopathy-pinched-nerve/Forouharmajd, F. Ebrahimi, H. & Pourabdian, S. (2018). Mobile phones distance from head and temperature
changes of radio frequency waves on brain tissue. International Journals of Preventative Medicine, 9(1), 61. doi: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPPVM_70_71
Hussung, T. (2017). Cells Phone Addiction: The statistics of Gadget dependency. King University Online. Retrieved
Kim, S. Kim, J. Jee, Y. (2015). Relationship between smartphone addiction and physical activity
in Chinese international students in Korea. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 4(3),
National Cancer Institute. (2017). Physical Activity and Cancer. Retrieved from
Poirier, P. & Giles, T. (2005). Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease: Pathophysiology,
Evaluation, and Effect of Weight Loss. Circulation, 113(6), 898-918.
Doi: 10.1161/ circulationaha. 106.171016
Sellman,M.(2005, Feb/Mar). A deadly obsession: Hooked on cell phones. Total Health; Woodland Hills Vol 27,Iss.1