How Does Using a Smartphone Affect Your Health?

We often think about the way in which the food we ingest every day affects our health, and some of us even think about how our computers could be affecting our health. But since smartphones are tiny, we don’t often think about the effect they could be having on us. As you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking this might be another panicky piece about how smartphones are ruining our lives. Fret not, dear reader. We are here simply to explore both the benefits and perceived threats to our health that smartphones have, and whether these threats have some basis in fact.


This is an important question because if you take your phone to the porcelain throne, you may be in danger of more than just dropping it in the toilet. According to a report by LiveScience, your phone could contain up to 10 times more bacteria than your toilet. And if you take it with you to the toilet, you could be swiping the germs that come from it onto your screen. Technically, that’s about the same proportion of bacteria that is found in kitchen sinks and sponges older than a few days.

Should you be worried? Probably not. This kind of information often doesn’t count the fact that a lot of bacteria you’ll find in the wild are actually not harmful at all. A vast majority of these little critters are absolutely harmless. If you’re really concerned about the bacteria on your phone, wipe it with some rubbing alcohol to disinfect.


There’s a new phenomenon that’s the talk of the season called “iPosture”. This word is used to describe the slouchy posture you have when you’re looking down at your phone for an extended period of time. It turns out that doing this will hurt you in the long term. According to health news website Medical Daily, 84% of young adults are experiencing back pain from using their mobile devices. The symptoms appear in individuals who are used to slouching over their gadgets while sitting down.

While mobile device use is a contributing factor, the site admits that this could be caused by slouching in general, which young adults are prone to doing while sitting in front of any computer screen at a desk.

There are many radical proposals for all kinds of crazy apparatuses that claim to “fix” this problem, but my suggestion is to lie down or take a stretch once in awhile.

Smartphones, like any new technology, will always be bombarded with negative press about how it’s shortening your life. Some reports might even assert that they are slowly killing you. There are also reports (some a bit more sensational than others) that praise these little gadgets.

One study made by Cell Press in Current Biology suggests that we’re learning to use our thumbs in fascinating ways because of the way we type on smartphones. And no, the “Cell” in the publisher’s name bears no relation to cellular technology (in case you’re wondering whether they’re just a cell phone industry group shilling for the companies they represent). They’re a typical publisher for biomedical journals.

The American College of Sports Medicine also published praises, particularly admiring the fact that smartphones have brought fitness consciousness back into our lives through apps. One could argue, however, that having a fitness app and using it are two different things (there’s a language-learning app I haven’t touched in years installed on my phone!).

So, there you have it! Smartphones have indeed improved the way we communicate, but they also come with consequences to our health that we might want to address as we move along. If you feel there’s something to add, you know where to comment!

Image credit: Calling