Environmental and health impacts of your smartphone.

On a college campus or in a subway, it appears that today a majority of us can not separate from that little, mighty device called smartphone.

However, behind the smartphone’s ability to give us an instant gratification, aid with fast communication , and overall making our lives “easier” (whatever it may be), there is a darker side to your smartphone: smartphones happen to be quite hazardous.

Its production requires an extraction of minerals and rare earth minerals that disrupt natural habitats. The inefficiency of the mining, a commonly used extraction process, is accompanied with a chemical cocktail that contaminates groundwaters.

Furthermore, the transportation of parts for an assembly, as well as the transportation of the final product naturally uses tons of fossil fuels. iPhones, for example, are shipped by air, which is one of the most expensive form of transportation — and one that is extremely environmentally taxing. Companies producing smartphones have made some attempt to use recycled materials in its packaging, as well as have implemented some refurbishing programs for disposing portion of “old” devices. However, smartphone’s short life-cycle is counterproductive to all the energy it takes to produce. And that is not taking into consideration the constant demand for energy needed to charge your smartphone daily.

Besides, there is more! You can actually develop an addiction to your smartphone.

After analyzing quantitative data from multiple studies conducted in different countries, the common consensus shows that smartphones are not just hazardous to the environment, but also to our health.

First, the excessive usage of a smartphone has a negative impact on your sleep. Second, 1 in 3 smartphone users indulges in a more unhealthy lifestyle, such as eating more fast food and exercising less. Furthermore among college population, 1 in 4 smartphone users experiences an adverse affect on their academic achievement. Other findings suggest that smartphone addiction has a negative influence on the posture, mobility, moreover, it impairs proprioception, as well as decreases one’s ability to recognize the right posture.

Additionally, there is a number of social problems that can occur from smartphone’s excessive use: depression and impairment of social and emotional functioning, damage to interpersonal skills, social anxiety, and loneliness.

To conclude, smartphones are not the epitome of the sustainably produced item, nor smartphones are sustaining our health per see. Therefore, when the next iPhone model appears on the market, please challenge yourself to extend the lifetime of your current phone. Meanwhile, if you find yourself checking your phone first thing in the morning, or you find yourself throughout the day just touching and tapping the screen (and these are actual two symptoms of smartphone addiction!), please increase your real social interaction and frequency of exercising.


Alosaimi, F.D., Alyahya, H., Alshahwan, H., Al Mahyijari, N., Shaik, S.A. (2016). Smartphone addiction among university students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Med J. 2016 Jun;37(6):675–83. doi: 10.15537/Smj.2016.6.14430.

Gao, Y., Li, A., Zhu, T., Liu, X., Liu, X. (2016). How smartphone usage correlates with social anxiety and loneliness. PeerJ. 2016 Jul 12;4:e2197. doi: 10.7717/peerj.2197. eCollection 2016.

Davey, S., Davey, A. (2014). Assessment of Smartphone Addiction in Indian Adolescents: A Mixed Method Study by Systematic-review and Meta-analysis Approach. Int J Prev Med. 2014 Dec;5(12):1500–11.

Demirci, K., Akgönül, M., Akpinar, A. (2015). Relationship of smartphone use severity with sleep quality, depression, and anxiety in university students. J Behav Addict. 2015 Jun;4(2):85–92. doi: 10.1556/2006.4.2015.010.

Haug, S., Castro, R.P., Kwon, M., Filler, A., Kowatsch, T., Schaub, M.P. (2015). Smartphone use and smartphone addiction among young people in Switzerland. J Behav Addict. 2015 Dec;4(4):299–307. doi: 10.1556/2006.4.2015.037.

Kim, S.E., Kim, J.W., Jee, Y.S. (2015). Relationship between smartphone addiction and physical activity in Chinese international students in Korea. J Behav Addict. 2015 Sep;4(3):200–5. doi: 10.1556/2006.4.2015.028.

Kim, H. (2013). Exercise rehabilitation for smartphone addiction. J Exerc Rehabil. 2013 Dec 31;9(6):500–5. doi: 10.12965/jer.130080.

Kee, I.K., Byun, J.S., Jung, J.K., Choi, J.K. (2016). The presence of altered craniocervical posture and mobility in smartphone-addicted teenagers with temporomandibular disorders. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Jan;28(2):339–46. doi: 10.1589/jpts.28.339. Epub 2016 Feb 29.

Körmendi, A., Brutóczki, Z., Végh, B.P., Székely, R. (2016). Smartphone use can be addictive? A case report. J Behav Addict. 2016 Sep;5(3):548–52. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.033. Epub 2016 Sep 7.

Lee, J., Seo, K. (2014). The comparison of cervical repositioning errors according to smartphone addiction grades. J Phys Ther Sci. 2014 Apr;26(4):595–8. doi: 10.1589/jpts.26.595. Epub 2014 Apr 23.

Long, J., Liu T.Q., Liao, Y.H.,Qi C, He H.Y., Chen S.B., & Billieux J. (2016). Prevalence and correlates of problematic smartphone use in a large random sample of Chinese undergraduates. BMC Psychiatry. Nov 17;16(1):408.

Mok, J.Y., Choi, S.W., Kim, D.J., Choi, J.S., Lee, J., Ahn, H., Choi, E.J., Song, W.Y. (2014). Latent class analysis on internet and smartphone addiction in college students. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014 May 20;10:817–28. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S59293. eCollection 2014.

Rodriguez, E., Carrasquillo, O., Lee, C., Lee, J., Zhou, A. (2015). iGo Green: A Life Cycle Assessment of Apple’s iPhone. In iConference 2015 Proceedings.

Rosen, L.D., Whaling, K., Carrier, L.M., Cheever, N.A., Rokkum, J. (2013). The Media and Technology Usage and Attitudes Scale: An empirical investigation. Comput Human Behav. 2013 Nov 1;29(6):2501–2511.