What Really Happens To Your Body When You're Constantly On Your Cell Phone

As a society, we love our phones more than we love each other. They hold our schedules, our rolodexes, our iTunes library ... our life. Try going a day without one and the panic that creeps in may make you go crazy enough to join a Fight Club. But what is all that phone time doing to your body? It turns out maybe we all should join a Fight Club, because with the damage they're doing ... getting beaten bloody might be a kinder way out.

It could be weakening your immune system

It might sound unbelievable, but your phone might well be hindering your immune system. Think about that next time you catch a cold, e-coli, or ebola.

Basically, your cell phone is covered with bacteria. In fact, a study done at the London School of Hygiene concluded that there is more bacteria and germs on a cell phone than on the surface of a public toilet seat. In fact, 1 in 6 phones tested had fecal matter on them, which likely transferred to the hands, so those poop emojis on your phone could be real. Plus, 82% of phones had some form of bacterial contamination. According to study co-author Dr. Ron Cutler, "People may claim they wash their hands regularly, but the science shows otherwise." Shame on you! You know who you are.

Not only is bacteria a concern, but some scientists are also concerned that the effects that cell phones can have on your immune systems can cause cancer, or even alter your DNA. In 2011, 27 scientists from the WHO (World Health Organization) classified cell phones in the same carcinogenic category as pesticides, gasoline exhaust, burning coal, and dry-cleaning chemicals. Dr. Martin Blank has studied the negative effects that cell phone and wireless technology can have on our cells and DNA, and the US National Library of Medicine has done studies that show the altered and misshapen red and white blood cells that result after coming in contact with a cell phone's electromagnetic waves. No amount of Purell can save you if your phone is frying your insides.

They can make you antisocial

Have a cell phone? You're probably a monster. Well, that might be extreme, but studies show that constantly using your phone can cause anti-social behavior.

Researchers at the University of Maryland found that, following the use of a phone, their subjects were less likely to engage with others or volunteer to help a charity. Researcher Ajay Abraham explains that using the cell phone replaces our need for connectedness. "When people use their cell phones, it triggers [a] feeling [of] connectedness to other people," Abraham said. "[T]heir need to belong is satisfied and subsequently they do less activities toward that need or desire. It makes people think they are fulfilled in this goal ... and have less concern for other people, which feeds into less prosocial tendencies."

What's more, the text is replacing our need for any in-person contact. Philly Mag reports that the Pew research study found 13 percent of people will pretend to be on their phone, so they don't have to talk to the people around them. The number rises to 30% for the Millennial age group. This is such a popular a phenomenon that the CBC has reported it is nicknamed phubbing, i.e. phone snubbing. The Pew report found that 75% of phubbers were usually taking pictures and texting, rather than actually talking — you know, the way humans used to communicate. Through our talky holes. 44% were "busy" surfing the internet. There is no data regarding how many of those polled were online looking for love in all the wrong places.

It can become a literal pain in the neck

Do you have "text neck"? Headaches? A sore back? Then stop looking down at your damn phone! According to Kenneth Hansraj, the chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, the average head weighs 10-12 pounds — 14 if you are in Mensa, and 8 if you claim to be in Mensa, but really aren't. However, when you bend your neck to look down at your phone, you add pressure on the neck, the equivalent of 60 pounds. That's like hanging eight full gallon water jugs around your neck. Why would you wear a water jug necklace? It's out of style for Fall.

Aside from neck pain, text neck can also cause TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders), headaches, back and shoulder pain, and early-onset arthritis. "These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possible surgeries," Hansraj says. The trick is to be aware of your posture while using your phone. Basically, stand up straight, just like your mother always told you.

You might grow a brain tumor

Maybe your job IS making you sick. However, if you're going to call in for a day off, make sure you have the science to back you up.

An Italian man did, as his country's Supreme Court linked his brain tumor to his cell phone use. The man, who used his cell phone over six hours a day for 12 years to do his job, sued the company and won. When his evil boss overlords tried to weasel out of it, the Supreme Court cited a Swedish study by Professor Lenartt Hardell at the University Hospital of Obreo, who found that heavy cell phone users developed brain cancer 4-5 times more often. This goes against previous studies, which found that cell phones were cool, and we were all safe from the big C.

Hardell, on the other hand, found that even people who use their phones sporadically are at risk. Studies have shown that just 50 minutes of use can alter the brain. Basically, just as you finally get clear AT&T reception, you can start the clock.

It can mess up your hearing

There are some who've spent time standing at rock shows in front of loud Marshall stacks who are a bit hard of hearing. But for those of who didn't spend their youth getting the Led out and still have a hearing problem? It could be from being on that cell phone.

A study done by Dr. Naresh Panda of the American Academy of Otolaryngology found that people who had been cell phone users for more than four years, and were on their phones for more than an hour a day, suffered high frequency hearing loss, and even the possibility of inner ear damage. Panda states that symptoms included a warm sensation, ringing in the ears, or difficulty differentiating between consonants like s, f, t, and z. STFU.

If someone is experiencing this, Panda recommends limiting their cell phone use or using earphones. Since less phone use isn't going to happen any time soon, and earphone look weird, we should probably all get used to repeating ourselves.

They're terrible for your vision

We know staring into the Sun isn't great, but it turns out constantly staring at the bright and harsh light of your phone screen can definitely affect your peepers too.

The Vision Council reports that staring at your cell phone screen constantly can cause what is called Digital Eye Strain. If you can actually read this, you will be shocked to find out that 65 % of Americans have this syndrome, which includes symptoms like headaches, dry, irritated eyes, blurred vision, neck and back pain, and eye fatigue. The Council has found that DES can onset after only two hours of cell phone screen use, which is like an hour and fifty minutes on Grunge, and ten minutes checking your email. The Council recommends limiting time spent viewing screens or using a special pair of computer glasses. There are anti-reflective lenses, which helps the eye adjust to the harsh glare of a bright screen, but you could probably wear your sunglasses inside and look very, very cool.

It can up your stress and depression

Are you stressed out? Depressed? Anxious? If you answered "no," you're probably outside and not indoors surfing the internet. A study at Kent State found that cell phone users who were on their phone at a high frequency tended to have more anxiety, were far unhappier, and had a lower GPA. In addition, if you're always staring at a screen, then you're more likely to develop depression or insomnia. According to researchers at the University of Gotenberg in Sweden, the more you're on your phone, especially later into the evening, the more stress it causes your body and mental health.

Out of 4,100 people questioned, they found that most also had sleeping problems. Those who were more accessible via their phone, as in "waiting by the damn thing hoping he might call, oh God why hasn't he called, maybe it's broken, I should call him just to check" had higher levels of stress and depression. And those who were on their phone or computer right before bed had more sleeping problems. Maybe they were reading the news.

The materials inside the phone might make you sick

Some people can get queasy by the messages they receive on their phone, but others are literally made sick by their phones themselves. Since the rise in popularity of smartphones, doctors have seen a spike in patients with allergies, rashes, and contact dermatitis. They've discovered this is caused by the metals and nickel the phones are made from. That's the kind of metal that no one wants to rock out to.

A Canadian Medical Journal Association study inspected 22 phone models for the presence of nickel, a common allergen and irritant, and discovered ten tested positive for the metal. The rash can start as an irritant and develop into full-blown blisters, if not treated. Quiet Riot was right: Metal health WILL drive you mad.

Phones might be RAID for sperm

This one really hurts below the belt.

Many believe that cell phones are bad for children, but it's now believed it could also be bad for having children. A Cleveland Clinic study has found that cell phones could actually be lowering a man's sperm count.

According to the Clinic, 15% of couples are affected by infertility. They studied the effects of electromagnetic waves and the relationship between cell phone usage and male infertility, and it turns out there is a direct link. According to the Clinic, "the decrease in sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology is related to the duration of exposure to cell phones." That means the more time men are spending quality time with their smartphones instead of their partner, the less virile they'll be.

In short, for those trying to have kids or even thinking of keeping their boys swimming, storing the phone away from your pants pocket would be the safest bet. May we suggest a man purse?