Most of us couldn’t imagine life without our smartphones. They deliver many advantages of connectivity and convenience. However, they have also introduced a range of ailments, nicknamed i-injuries, such as Blackberry thumb, tech neck and text claw.
An astonishing 41% of us have had an accident relating to our smartphones. People are astounded at the following extraordinarily common injuries from smart phones:
A senior sister in emergency care at a leading London hospital, reports that she not infrequently has had to remove shards of glass from patients’ bottoms after the screen of a smartphone in their back pocket has shattered in a high impact accident. Her informal and useful advice is to place the phone in your back pocket, screen side out.
We can also fall foul of smartphones being in our back pockets when we go to the loo and forget they are there. An injury to our wallet perhaps, but no less painful.
People often injure their fingers from swiping over cracked or broken screens.
Some i-injuries happen because people are distracted while texting or making a phone call. Figures from the National Accident Helpline revealed 43% of us have walked into something or someone while texting, surfing the net, chatting on the phone or listening to music. Viral clips on the internet show ‘smartphone zombies’ falling into fountains or onto tube tracks whilst glued to their screens.
Last year, US figures showed a spike in pedestrian deaths, caused by smartphone distraction of pedestrian and road users. Here in the UK, figures show you are 4 times more likely to be involved in a crash using your phone while driving.
Taking selfies has also proved to be an activity that could prove fatal, or at least land you in A&E. The current craze of people wanting sensational shots of themselves in unusual or dangerous places in order to win likes from their followers has proved a risky activity for many. In 2015 more people died taking selfies than from shark attacks.
Russian police took the unusual step of issuing a brochure of selfie guidelines after 10 deaths and 100 injuries in selfie-related accidents. Their handy hints for staying alive suggested smartphone owners shouldn’t take selfies whilst posing with a loaded weapon, standing on an electricity pylon or in front of a wild animal. All very useful advice.
Some injuries are less dramatic but just as painful. Repetitive strain injury in fingers – dubbed Nintendonitis or Gamer’s Grip – can be caused by users repeated swiping or typing. The index finger of the right hand is particularly vulnerable to injury when used for endless scrolling. The other hand however is also at risk from aches and pains – from gripping the handheld device.
Try to combat this by reducing phone use, using hands-free options on your phone and stretching and massaging.
More unusual is the injury sustained by a whopping 60% of 16-24 year -olds who have dropped their smartphones onto their face whilst lying down. Or the 84% of 18-24 year-olds already reporting lower back pain from hunching over their tech.
Finally, please don’t forget the toll that technology can have on our psychological selves. ‘Smartphone stress’ is our response to being connected to the workplace or to the school playground 24 hours a day. Being unable to switch off and reboot ourselves from work pressure or friendship issues on social media, can be mentally and emotionally draining. Phone free time is useful to combat this.
Used wisely our smart phone is our ally. Just remember to make sure it’s always screen side out when you sit down.