Previously I have written about whether mobile phones were harmful to users.
Given the recent COVID implications, not only has the use of computers increased - with many more people working from home or having lost jobs - but mobile phone use has also risen.
With all the information and research which has been circulating these past few years and more so recently, have we learned anything about how mobile phones can affect our mental and physical health?
This article will refresh us all on a product that is and has been an appendage to many peoples lifestyles.
Per Bank My Cell, as of 2020, the number of mobile phone owners in the world sits at approximately 5.20 billion, making up 67.11 per cent of the world's population with approximately 10 billion connections.
That's 2.22 billion more mobile connections than people worldwide.
In Australia, approximately 90 per cent of us carry a mobile phone.
In the journal of Frontiers in Psychiatry, the article Cell-Phone Addiction, referenced that these devices can lead to losing interest in other activities, feeling irritable, becoming uneasy if you are separated from your phone, feelings of anxiety or loneliness.
These findings by researchers also pointed out that adolescents and women may be the most susceptible to this behavioural addiction.
Another example on how mobile phones can be potentially hazardous is due to what researchers call, blue light exposure.
LED backlights are used to enhance daytime brightness and contrast of displays.
However, unlike conventional lighting, LEDs emit bright blue light at a wavelength close to the peak sensitivity for non-visual circadian photoreception, (effects of light that are collectively termed 'non-visual' or 'non-image forming').
Therefore, exposure to blue light may disrupt a variety of our basic functions, even at low intensities, which include alertness, reasoning and sleep.
Dr Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of iGen, who has conducted several studies on this issue, states that increased activity on any digital device results in heightened rates of depression.
Per Dr Twenge: "Three hours a day and beyond is where you saw the more pronounced increase in those who had at least one suicide risk factor."
There are ways to reduce your mobile phone use. Apps on the market, like MUTE, can track how much time you spend using your mobile phone.
The app can also send you messages to motivate you to stay conscious of your use.
A self-directed option to monitor your use is by physically separating yourself from your phone in times where you do not need it.
For example, an hour before bed, just plug in your phone across the room or in another part of the house so that you aren't tempted to spend time browsing when you should be sleeping.
Alternatively, powering off your phone when you are out with friends/family, which will make you feel more connected and engaged in conversations and relationships.
In relation to the use of mobile phones in the classroom, a 2012 comparative study in England was conducted with two high schools. One school allowed the use of mobile phones and one did not.
The results revealed 43 per cent of students attending the school where mobile phones were banned were still using them to help with learning despite the ban.
The other test school found 74 per cent of students used the mobile phones to aid learning.
Respondents of the study stated they used their mobile phones for platforms like Google or personal calendars during the school day. While learning at home most students also relied on their devices.
The research showed that students relied mostly on their mobile phones to keep them organised.
The calendar, alarms and camera (usually to take photos of a teacher's notes) were features constantly used by students.
The study indicated there was clear evidence many students felt they were gaining educational benefits from the use of their mobile phones by using an assortment of the features available, while finding creative ways to employ these features in their schoolwork at home and at school.
In conclusion, the research proposed that mobile phones were suitable learning tools for the classroom.
There is no doubt that mobile phones, tablets, or computers can be extremely productive tools when used appropriately and in moderation.
However, compulsive use of these devices will most certainly interfere with work, school, and relationships.
If you spend more time repeatedly checking texts, emails or apps, you may now be classified as having mobile phone addiction, which is known as "nomophobia" (fear of being without a mobile phone).
Nomophobia comes with a set of identifiable symptoms including increased heart rate and blood pressure, shortness of breath, anxiety, nausea, trembling, dizziness, depression, discomfort, fear, and panic.
Dr Anthony Perrone is college counsellor at Trinity Anglican College. The views expressed are Dr Perrone's and not necessarily those of Trinity Anglican College.