Your Smartphone May Be More Dangerous Than You Think, Say Japanese Physicians

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Tokyo - (PanOrient News) Tokyo – Go anywhere in Japan and you will see throngs of people with necks bent, eyes glued to their devices. And this is exactly what has the Japan Medical Association and the Japan Pediatric Society worried, to the point of issuing a warning that excessive smartphone use is detrimental to the mind and body.
The organizations are trying to get their message across via colorful posters seemingly targeted at youth.

They warn about a number of negative consequences from smartphone overuse, ranging from decreased eyesight to a developmental delay in the part of the brain controlling memory and judgement. They also emphasize that too much screen time can lead to less physical exercise, with negative consequences for bone and muscle growth.

Although widespread smartphone use is quite recent (the first iPhone came out in 2007), and its long-term effects are still being researched, many of the studies that have been coming out in recent years paint a frightening picture of what smartphones may be doing to the brain and body.

The medical organizations caution that using a smartphone too much at night can lead to the body’s inability to distinguish between daytime and nighttime, resulting in sleep deprivation. They also warn of decreased academic performance in children, decreased eyesight, and fewer opportunities to develop communication skills by talking directly with other people.

Concerns about the dangers of addiction to electronic devices are not new, however. In fact, the World Health Organization has already held four meetings on the topic. It warns that documented cases of overuse often have negative health consequences and that “the problem has reached the magnitude of a significant public health concern.”

With regard to those who are addicted to playing games on smartphones and consoles, the WHO plans to label a “gaming disorder” as a psychological ailment at a general assembly next May. While defined as not being able to stop playing electronic games to the point of disrupting one’s lifestyle, in the most extreme cases the disorder can lead to deadly blood clots developing in stationary legs or to people taking their own lives after falling into debt from in-game purchases.

Although treatment centers are starting to open up for these addicts, the issue of internet addiction seems to be widespread. A survey performed six years ago showed about eight percent of Japanese junior and senior high school students being addicted to the internet.

The smartphone phenomenon has been described as a tsunami sweeping over civilization, with no one knowing exactly how far we’ve sunk. Some experts warn that smartphones are changing the ways humans operate and constitute a social trend that may not be in the best interest of humanity. They advise acting now to restrict usage to only what is necessary.

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