We all secretly know our phones are out to get us. The way they sit there, beckoning to us, softly calling our names, especially when we're in the shower, mocking us, making us think we have a notification when it's just a low battery warning. We know what they're up to. But there's also some truth to the paranoia because your phone really is trying to kill you, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
A guy walks into a bar
Did you know that talking on your cell phone has been compared to drink driving? That is how seriously your attention is impaired by your phone when you're meant to be doing something else. Of course, driving while using a cell phone is obviously dangerous and illegal in many places for good reason, but using your phone at any time can be pretty risky.
The internet is full of stories, pictures and video of people walking onto train tracks, getting hit by cars, walking into uncovered manholes, banging their heads on low-hanging branches, and other forms of Darwinian behavior that is sure to scratch one up for survival of the fittest sooner or later. Trust me, you don't want to earn yourself a cameo in Dumb Ways to Die by getting yourself run over while playing Dumb Ways to Die.
The zombie apocalypse
You know that meme about the zombie apocalypse? The one with the students all shuffling along, hunched over, brain-dead and focused on their phones? That may be par for the course these days, but it's also frighteningly true. We already know there's lot of bad juju involved when you use your phone before bed, but the same can be said for using your phone in general. Like parents telling you that too much TV will rot your brain, too much smartphone action does even worse things to the old gray matter.
If you know the Stephen King novel Cell, you'd be familiar with the idea that a sinister pulse was broadcast over the cellular network and that anyone using their phone at the time got themselves turned into a kind of brain-dead zombie. The pun is obvious, but the reality is scary too: we each check our phones an average of 110 times a day. That's a whole lot of missed experience that equates to your phone essentially robbing you of your life.
Not only can your entire life drift by while you're permanently fixated on your phone, you can also become boringly status obsessed at the same time, lose all but your online friends and end up a twitchy old hermit sitting on his porch in the woods stroking his breast implants while shouting at non-existent kids to stay off his lawn. That is until the zombie apocalypse comes, which you're poorly equipped for because you spent all your money on in-app purchases. Then you'd really wish you spent less time on your phone.
Funny like cancer
Studies have shown that radiation from cell phones contributes to various forms of cancer, including brain cancer, salivary gland cancer and even rare eye cancers. Ladies are not exempt either, as those that carry phones in their bra are more prone to particular forms of breast cancer. Men of course, get the bonus of testicular cancer.
Carrying a cell phone in your jeans pocket has also been linked to less sperm production, lower sperm count and fewer motile sperm per ejaculate. Having defunct junk might not exactly kill you, but it will reduce your chances of propagating the human race. Your options on this front are manifold: take up letter writing; invest in many cans and long pieces of string; learn the fine art of smoke signals; pack your phone in a lead-lined case; work on your telepathy - or invest in thicker pants.
I've had about as much as I can stand...and I can't stand no more!
So you've had enough? What can you do? Lots of things: don't carry your phone on your person all the time; get off your phone once in a while; make a friend that exists in the same space-time continuum as you; go for a walk without your phone; look at the trees; smell the flowers; don't tweet the fact that you smelled the flowers; talk to a girl in a bar without adding her on Facebook; eat a nice meal without Instagramming it – there's a whole bunch of fun stuff happening in the world that doesn't require a phone to enjoy. Go out and find some of it.
How much time do you spend on your phone each day? What tips do you have for cutting back on phone usage?