girl-on-mobileIn our previous article, 10 Ways Your Smartphone May Be Harming Your Health, we spoke about some of the dangers associated with using a smartphone. In this article, we offer you seven ways in which you can avoid some of these dangers.

Researchers are offering conflicting opinions at the moment about just how safe it is to use your Smartphone. The truth is, we just do not know the risks posed by Smartphones at this stage, so we are better off assuming that there is some danger rather than no danger. If you're worried about the ways in which Smartphone usage can affect your health it is certainly better to be safe than sorry. This article gathers together a number of recommendations that will help you to lower the potential long term risks associated with using your Smartphone.

Multitasking

Never use your Smartphone while you are driving. Using your phone distracts you and you do not concentrate on the road, the conditions and other road users around you. In fact, using your phone while driving is akin to driving while under the influence of drink or drugs. You will react more slowly when an unexpected driving hazard emerges or you may not even see it until it is too late.

Even using the phone hands free while driving is not without its dangers. It is not just texting that causes accidents. Accidents occur through the simple act of talking too.

To avoid being distracted completely you should switch your Smartphone off when you get into your car. Put your Smartphone away in your bag and place that either on the backseat or in the boot. There is nothing so urgent that it cannot wait until your park up to deal with, and you are perfectly capable of picking up your messages at the end of the journey and calling people back. Completely remove the temptation of using your phone while you're driving.

Lower Your Exposure to Radio Waves

You can lower your exposure to the radio waves emitted by your Smartphone by only making short calls and not using it more than is necessary. If you buy your Smartphone from a mobile phone shop ask the assistant about the specific absorption rate (SAR) of your Smartphone before you purchase it. The SAR is the amount of radio wave energy that is absorbed into the body from the mobile phone and this varies between models. Mobile phone retailers do have a responsibility to make this information available to you so you are within your rights to ask before you purchase.

Other ways to lower your exposure to radio waves include keeping your phone away from you when you have it on standby and certainly not sleeping with it next to the bed. Also, try not to use the Smartphone unless it tells you it has a strong reception. Weak reception may cause your Smartphone to use more energy to communicate with its base station. When the signal is weak or if you are moving at high-speed, say in a car or train, power is increased to a maximum because the phone repeatedly attempts to connect to a new relay antenna. Radiation is at its highest when there is a weak signal (one or two bars) so wait for all the bars to be on display.

Worried about Cancer

If you are particularly worried about cancer or brain tumours, you can opt to use a headset with earphones, or try a speaker phone. A radiofrequency electromagnetic field, is emitted by a cell phone's antenna, and may be linked to two different types of brain cancer. By opting to use a headset, this will allow you to hold the phone further away from your head. Using the speaker-phone mode or a wireless Bluetooth headset with your Smartphone results in less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cell phone. The further you hold the phone from your head, the smaller the risk of RF energy exposure to your brain. Consider sending a quick text rather than calling someone and talking for ages. In any case keep mobile conversations to a minimum and use a landline when you have lots to chat about or you need to make a business call.

If you do have to make a call on your Smartphone, switch ears periodically so that you spread the exposure time to both sides of the brain. Also, don't put the phone to your ear until you know the other party has picked up.

A Problem with Your Eyes

Relentless use of your Smartphone can lead to eyestrain and fatigue. The font on the screen tends to be small and you have to strain to see what you are reading. If you play games on your phone, this is even worse as you forget to blink. Make sure you are holding the phone at least 16 inches away from your face and take a break from it, look away and blink for a few seconds every two or three minutes.

Sexual Health

There are reports that radiation from Smartphones can lower the sperm count, or cause DNA damage to babies. As far as possible keep your Smartphone out of your trouser pocket and well away from your testicles.

Pregnant women should stay away from Smartphones because the developing organs of a foetus are the most sensitive to any possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields. This also applies to young children.

Ban Children from Using Smartphones

You should prevent or limit the amount of time your child spends on a Smartphone as children's skulls are thinner than those of adults, and because their nervous systems are still developing, they may well be at a greater risk for Smartphone-related cancers. Just think – if your children or grandchildren start using Smartphones now, how much more radiation will they be exposed to than you have been in your lifetime? Encourage children to text instead, or use the landline for a good old fashioned chat. Call it retro fun!

Think of Others

Avoid using your Smartphone in public places and on public transport. You'll passively expose others to your phone's electromagnetic fields otherwise.

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

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