INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Research shows Americans spend way too much time on their smartphones. Based on self-reported data, the average person touches it 2,617 times per day. However, this number, they say, could be grossly underestimated. Regardless, scientists say we need to resist the pull and obsession with this technology. Here are just a few reasons why too much smartphone-ing is bad for your health.
While it might seem like a harmless distraction, several studies show a inverse relationship between mindless smartphone scrolling and a decrease in a person’s productivity. For example, in a 2017 study by researchers from the University of Texas call it “brain drain.” In addition to decreased productivity, the constant buzzing of alerts and notifications creates distraction. A study by researchers from the University of California Irvine found it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for a person to re-focus after a distraction.
Linked to Poorer Relationships
Spending too much time on the device is detrimental to relationships of all types. According to a published paper by Virginia Tech University researchers, it reduces the quality of conversations and creates a disconnect between people. “Both non-verbal and verbal elements of in-person communication are important for a focused and fulfilling conversation,” said lead study author, Dr. Shalina Misra, in a news release. “In the presence of a mobile device, there is less eye contact. A person is potentially more likely to miss subtle cues, facial expressions, and changes in the tone of their conversation partner’s voice when his or her thoughts are directed to other concerns.”
Can Lead to Memory Loss
Scientists at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden found says scrolling social media is overwhelming for our brain. It prevents us retaining information and can lead to memory loss. In a previous interview, Dr. Erik Fransén, KTH computer science professor and author of the study said “At any given time, the working or short-term memory can only carry three or four items, “When you are on [your phone and on social media] you are making it harder to keep the things…in your brain that you need. You are reducing your own working memory capacity.”