We didn’t climb from the womb with a smartphone in our hands. It just sometimes seems that way. The ubiquitous devices have become extensions of our arms, ever present, ever in use.
But how healthy is it to have our noses continually pressed against their screens?
Now, a study by German researchers shows that our smartphone addiction might take a toll on our well-being and, ultimately, impact health.
The study notes we spend an average of three hours a day scrolling through websites, catching up on the news and playing games. To be sure, smartphones have simplified aspects of our lives. Who misses getting hopelessly lost because we didn’t have a street atlas in the car? Now directions are as easy as typing in an address to Google maps.
Libraries of information are at our fingertips. Getting addicted to our phones, however, comes with a cost.
Researchers recruited about 600 people who were separated into three groups. One group was asked to completely abstain from using their smartphones for a week. A second gave them up for an hour a day. A third didn’t change their behavior at all.
All were quizzed after about their lifestyle habits and well-being one month and then four months later. Scientists found that those who ditched the phone altogether or reduced usage 60 minutes daily reported getting more exercise and experiencing greater life satisfaction.
Participants also smoked less and had fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression.
And both groups that cut back on their usage were still using their smartphones significantly less even four months later.
So, dial back the time spent on the phone. It just might improve your health.