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Are Cell Phones a Danger to Our Health and Well-Being?

Image courtesy of Maurizio Pesce
Image courtesy of Maurizio Pesce

Modern technology has increased by leaps and bounds since it first began. After starting out with cell phones the size of bricks, and moving to car phones, we now have the slim cell phones of today, which are thinner than a stack of paper and as light as a feather. Does anyone really think that these devices could do harm? Other than cyber bullying, no one correlates harm with technology, but these people are mistaken. Cell phones and other electronic devices can be a serious threat to our health and well-being. Cell phones, televisions, and laptops give off radiation that could possibly cause cancer and even death through enough exposure. Hidden beneath all the cool technology and characteristics of a new cell phone comes a threat to our health.

A small six- to eight-inch cell phone can give off the same amount of radiation as a thirteen-inch laptop, a thirty-two inch television, or a radio. For anyone who keeps his or her cell phone in his or her pocket all day long it can be an issue. Increased risk of brain tumors, DNA damage, and issues with fertility are all consequences of having cell phone radiation near you. People who sleep with cell phones near their heads are at an even greater risk for brain tumors. Think about it: doctors recommend eight or more hours of sleep every night, so those who sleep with their cell phones near their heads while the phone is on are exposed to eight or more straight hours of radiation. Since cell phone radiation is classified as a carcinogen, sleeping next to it puts you at a greater risk of cancer. The classification of a carcinogen is a substance that can cause cancer in living tissue. This device, which has revolutionized the world, is actually a serious threat to our health.

Other than internal issues with cell phones, there are also some external issues as well. Cell phones damage vision. The name for this is computer vision syndrome. Although permanent eye damage has not been completely proven, eyestrain has been established as a real concern. Eyestrain occurs after looking at a screen for a long period of time; objects or people around you look blurry, and you start getting a headache and possibly nausea. Cell phones also admit HEV light. HEV light is a portion of the visible light spectrum that comprises light with the shortest wavelengths, which can do the most harm to living tissue. Damage to the living tissue could have a side effect of permanent damage and even blindness.  In an Internet Trends 2014 report, Americans between the ages of sixteen to forty-four were reported as spending a total of 444 minutes staring at a screen every day; in other words, 7.4 hours. Typically, this breaks down to 147 minutes of television, 103 minutes on a computer, 151 minutes on smartphones, and 43 minutes on a tablet. With numbers like these, it’s kind of hard to imagine how our eyes haven’t fallen out yet, but we have adapted to the constant light coming from our screens. We don’t think much of it any more, but that does not change the fact that screen are damaging and impairing our vision.

Finally, other than medical issues that cell phones can cause to our bodies, they can also cause social issues. For example, if a conversation is going on with two or more people and somebody else at the table or near the table is using a phone to check social media, text, or play a game, the common perception of that individual is negative. Constant ringing, vibrating, reminders, and alarms going off can also cause increased stress levels and anxiety if that person is unable to check their phone. Another health issue with your cell phone is the spreading of germs. Consistently touching your phone—putting it to your face, letting your friends touch it, and putting it down on surfaces—can spread germs incredibly fast. For example, your cell phone is laying face down on your kitchen counter, when all of a sudden it starts vibrating. You take the call and put the phone to your face; once you are finished, you put it back down on the counter. Then you feel like you have something in your eye so you touch it to try and get it out. Right there germs spread from your kitchen counter to your face to your eye. Other than spreading germs, trying to multi-task while you’re on a call and holding the phone between your ear and your shoulder can cause neck and back pains, which has potential to lead to disarrayed posture. Also texting frequently, sending long paragraphs, and typing out lengthy emails can cause joint inflammation. All these issues with cell phones are tremendous dangers to our health and well-being, and they could possibly kill us.

These issues are very prevalent to the FA community. At one point or another I’m sure everyone has heard “Ughh this school Wi-Fi sucks” and constant dinging, buzzing, and beeping all over campus. With cell phones and laptops all over the FA campus it’s hard to imagine how much radiation all these devices are generating and how everyone in the FA community is at a risk for possible cancer and eyestrain. Similar to carbon monoxide, cell phones can be considered “the silent killer”.

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