By MH Staff - Posted on 27th January 2014
How your phone can foil your mental and physical health.
All that tapping and swiping may make your touchscreen as germy as your computer keyboard, a study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found. “About 20 to 30% of viruses on a surface similar to a smartphone screen will transfer to your fingertips,” says study author Dr Tim Julian. It’s a short trip to your mouth or eyes. If your phone isn’t coated to resist fingerprints or glare, you can clean the screen with a wipe from Wireless Wipes. They’re made specifically for cleaning phones and tablets.
You don’t own your phone – it owns you. Researchers in Finland found that most people obsessively check their menu screen, news, email and apps, even though the likelihood of seeing new and interesting information keeps decreasing. “The more you do it, the less you gain,” says study author Dr Antti Oulasvirta. He recommends setting specific times to touch base with your touchscreen, such as on the hour (or half hour if the withdrawal is too much).
The combination of holding your phone too close and staring at a sadistically small font can lead to eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes and blurred vision, according to research from the SUNY College of Optometry. Study author Dr Mark Rosenfield offers this ocular prescription: increase the font size to twice the smallest size you’re able to read, maintain a distance of at least 40cm between the screen and your eyes and if you’re reading for a while, get into the habit of taking frequent 20-second breaks.
You bought it so you could be accessible 24-7, but now you never seem to have time to unwind – you’re never unreachable. In fact, a University of Worcester study shows that this constant stress can actually trick people into believing that their phone vibrated from a new text or email even when no messages came in. So learn to power down: shut off your phone for at least an hour every day, and gradually work your way up to two-hour phone holidays.