How did humanity ever survive without them? With the exception of penicillin, smartphones are the greatest invention of all time. (Don’t quote us on this.) The advancement of technology has only added to their growing list of capabilities. So much so that if you time travelled back to the 15th century with one, you’d most certainly be called a magical being…and then burned at the stake for practising witchcraft.
Not to be dramatic, but smartphones are really powerful things. And with such great power comes great responsibility. Responsibility to be safe with the use of said power.
Here are 6 don’ts of using the magic bricks that are smartphones:
1. Do not use your phone while cooking, especially when using a gas stove.
If there’s a gas leak you’re not aware of and your phone heats up to the point where there is a short circuit, the small arc of electricity created, combined with the gas, could cause an explosion. This also goes for using your phone’s torchlight to tinker with your generator when there’s fuel in it. The chances of this happening are slim, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Like this woman, whose phone rang at a gas station when she was getting her cylinder refilled, leading to an explosion so massive it set her, her phone, and her car on fire.
2. Don’t make or answer calls while your phone is plugged into a power source.
Most high-end phone manufacturers have put measures in place to avoid problems that could arise from using their products while plugged in. What they can’t protect you from is what could happen when you use less than reputable third-party chargers. And these days, where you really can’t be sure of a charger’s authenticity if it didn’t come with your phone, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Don’t use your phone while driving or operating heavy machinery.
According to this news report from NTA in 2016, distraction (phone use included) has been identified as a contributing factor in 22% of car crashes in Nigeria. To avoid hurting yourself and others — or worse, becoming a statistic on a news website, — avoid making calls or texting while driving. If you absolutely have to make a phone call, be sure to use a hands-free accessory.
This also applies when operating heavy machinery e.g. tractors, bulldozers, Voltron, etc.
4. Too much phone use could lead to posture disorders.
It isn’t talked about a lot but excessive cellphone use can cause posture defects. In AsapSCIENCE’s video on how cellphone usage changes individuals, it is explained that when we look down at our phones, our spine’s angle is equivalent to that of an 8-year-old child sitting on our necks. This is worrying, seeing as the average cell phone user spends an average of 4.7 hours on their phone.
Then there’s the defect called Trigger Finger where the finger is stuck in a bent position and snaps/pops when you straighten it. It happens when the tendon in the finger is inflamed and can occur due to excessive phone use.
5. Beware of the blue light
Studies have shown that electronic devices emit a blue light which is known to alter the circadian rhythms of the human body and reduce the time the body is in deep sleep by blocking the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). Because of this, it is advised that LED devices be avoided at least 3 hours before bedtime.
If you think a little insomnia never hurt anyone (which it has), then know that the effects of blue light may also contribute to eye strain, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and other health conditions.
6. Avoid using your phone when engaging in conversation.
Because it’s just plain rude. Do you realize how annoying it is when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone, all the while giving them your undivided attention (as you should) but they can’t even be bothered to look up from their phone?