15 Ways Your Phone Is Ruining Your Life

6 minute read

By Jordana Weiss

Many of us live life with a phone by our side, but few of us fully understand the depths of the negativity that they bring to our day to day. Fortunately, with a search online, you can explore the many downsides of cellphones.

The tendency to place all our trust in a tiny metal rectangle has changed people in mental, physical, emotional, and social ways. All the more reason to explore a few ways that your phone could be ruining your life.

You think that screen time replaces friendship

Nowadays, people think that trading ‘likes’ on each other’s Instagram photos counts as a friendship. It can be incredibly difficult to schedule real-time hangouts when your schedule is packed with work and family life, so many people try and bridge the gap by connecting with friends and family online.

There’s nothing wrong with interacting online, but when it starts to replace the need for meaningful, in-person connection, then you should probably back away from the phone.

We think that it can remember things for us

When was the last time you had to memorize a string of numbers, like your social insurance, or a phone number? Do you remember how easy we used to find it? Anyone in their twenties or thirties will remembering being a kid and having their best friend’s numbers memorized.

Now, many people will sheepishly admit that they don’t even know their spouse’s number off by heart. Our ability to memorize something instantly has been replaced by the memory card on our phone.

You’re constantly unsatisfied with the pace your life is moving at

Every time you hit a milestone, whether it be at work or in your personal life, all you have to do is go on Facebook to find someone who did it in less time, or with more fanfare than you.

This is especially true in relationships. Comparing your relationship to others’ will never help you, because each one is different and goes at its own pace. Just because your best friend from third grade got married last week doesn’t mean it’s the right time for you to do the same.

Comparing yourself to other leaves you feeling like you come up short

Theodore Roosevelt is reported to have said that “comparison is the thief of joy.” This is especially relevant in today’s age of Facebook and Instagram.

Photo filters allow people to literally filter the bad parts out of their life, and post only about the positive things that happen to them. It’s almost impossible to enjoy your own life if you’re constantly comparing yourself to people with better hair, better skin, or better engagement photos.

Putting down the phone and focusing on what is real in your own life will help you back away from the pain of comparison.

You’re bored and unable to be present

If you’ve ever complained about being bored, chances are your phone has something to do with it. Or, more accurately, the lack of your phone.

Anyone who owns a smartphone has a veritable arcade at their fingertips 24/7, so whenever our phone dies, we’re completely bereft of ideas of how to keep ourselves occupied.

You’re far more likely to be involved in a car crash involving distracted driving

As of 2011, 23% of all car crashes that happened in the United States involved the driver being distracted by their phone. That’s a whopping 1.3 million crashes in a single year, and the numbers are only going up.

That statistic is appalling considering how little effort it takes to enable your phone to send messages through your car’s stereo system. Next time you’re tempted to reach for your phone while in the driver’s seat, either ask your co-pilot to answer on your behalf, or exercise some self control and wait until you get home!

Your posture is changing

Research has been done lately showing that when humans tilt their heads forward to check their smartphone screen, they’re putting an extra 15 to 48 pounds of weight on their delicate spine. A human being, standing up straight and holding their head at a neutral angle, should only be putting about 10-12 pounds of weight on their spine.

On average, people spend 2 to 4 hours a day checking their phones. Spending that much time with our heads tilted at unnatural angles is irreparably changing our posture.

You’ve had run-ins with irresponsible and impulsive spending

When Amazon and a million other online shopping sites are just a click away, you’re continually tempted to spend money. Plus, these online retailers’ handy one-click ordering systems are primarily designed to limit the time between your impulse and your purchase.

This constant accessibility and ease of use leads to people buying things on a whim on the internet. But in the end, as much as it may not feel like it, real money comes out of their bank account.

You’ve stopped reading real books

There’s a reason why libraries all over the country are closing down: people have stopped reading paper books, and instead focus on reading articles on the internet. With articles, readers can get the information faster, and the articles are generally shorter and easier to read than a book.

While there are some great journalistic websites out there, it’s hard to replace the feeling of going to sleep holding a paperback book.

You’re more likely to get a repetitive stress injury

With everyone constantly using the tiny keyboard of a smartphone, carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries have become much more prevalent.

In the past, these types of injuries would mostly be found in factory or line workers, who are used to repeating the same motion for hours, day after day. Now, doctors are coining new names for these types of repetitive stress injuries — video thumb, and smartphone carpal tunnel are just a few of them.

Your sex life is suffering

According to a survey done in the UK, 62% of British women have admitted to checking their phone during sex at least once in their lives.

Having a phone close by when you’re doing the deed can lead to unwanted distractions, especially if it rings. Next time you’re getting down and dirty, put away the phone so you can’t even see it — out of sight, out of mind.

You’re getting less sleep

Are you the type of person who rolls over in bed first thing in the morning and picks up your phone in order to wake yourself up? There’s a reason for that.

Phones, tablets and computers all emit what is called ‘blue’ light, which is what comes out of the screen while it’s powered on. This light signals to our bodies that it’s time to wake up by suppressing our melatonin, which is the hormone in the body that makes us sleepy.

This tactic may work for waking up in the morning, but it stands to reason that the effects of blue light make falling asleep while having a phone nearby very difficult. This sleep-destroying effect is compounded if we have loud alerts enabled. Even if we don’t fully wake up after hearing an alert buzz in, it will disrupt our sleep.

Constant interruptions make it hard to get anything done

Mustering up the motivation to study or work can be almost impossible when you’ve got a whole world of distraction and entertainment at your fingertips.

For children, having a smartphone nearby while studying can lead to a huge amount of wasted time — not just while they’re on the phone, but after as well. Studies have shown it can take up to 25 minutes to refocus on the task at hand after taking a phone break.

You’re feeling stressed out by being constantly connected to work

If you have your work email sent to your phone, it can lead to much more stress than if you try to keep your work tasks firmly placed within your 9 to 5.

Even if an email isn’t urgent, if you’ve seen it come in, you’ll feel much more pressure to respond. Plus, knowing exactly how many emails you’ll have sitting in your inbox on Monday morning can put a real damper on your lazy Sunday afternoon.

Overuse of your camera causes you forget to use your actual memory

Psychologist Linda Henkel recently had a breakthrough after realizing that her own memory of past events was failing her. After some research, she discovered that humans who take photos of events are much less likely to actually remember the details of those events.

We’ve gotten so used to relying on our smartphones to capture moments for us that we forget to remember them ourselves. Put the phone down and make some memories!

Jordana Weiss