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BlackBerry Phones And The Potential Health Threats

Posted on September 24, 2011 in Health and Life

By Kriti Pal:

Adding to the list of potential health hazards caused due to overuse of gadgets, the widespread use of hand-held devices at work and otherwise has spawned a new condition.

”BlackBerry thumb’’ is the name given to a repetitive strain injury caused by overusing mobile phones to send texts and e mails.

A gadget that was launched in 1999 recently became the rage of the nation (and the world) with celebrities such as Deepika Padukone, Ajay Devgn, Brad Pitt, Michael Halls, Cheryl Cole, and David Beckham using them. According to the statistics, BlackBerry has about 14.8% share of the worldwide smart phone sales, which makes it the recent phenomenon of the pop culture.

A survey conducted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy reported that 1 in every 6 people in the age bracket of 16-24 felt discomfort in their hands while texting. Another survey by Virgin Mobile reported that cell phones are the cause for about 3.8 million repetitive strain injuries per year. Dean Hughes, professor of orthopedic surgery at Imperial College London, says that prolonged use of the mobile phone could potentially cause wear and tear on the thumb.

“People who use them a lot could suffer from osteoarthritis.”

“The thing is that the thumb is designed flex and rotate in all directions, it works differently from the fingers. The joint at the bottom of the thumb allows it to move like this and tapping.”

Professor Alan Hedge, director of the human factors and ergonomics research group at Cornell University in New York, added, “The Blackberry is much more demanding than texting on phones because users tend to use them to type out emails. Maybe they should be limited to 50 words or so.”

Professor Hedge warned it was quite easy to use the devices too much.

“Really you should not be making more than a few hundred thumb movements a day, so that does not amount to that many words when you think about it.”

Therefore, to avert mental health problems and addiction caused by BB overuse, the users are advised not to use it for more than 2 hours each day. Especially not for chatting. They are also advised to take up some recreational activities and not to give up on other communication channels completely.

Excessive communication through cyber channel is affecting actual face to face communicative skill and relationship problem. A lot of BlackBerry users rely on the mobile device to upload pictures and complaint about things in their life via this network all the time. Where on one hand, this helps reduce their anxiety in a way, it leads to them resorting to the cyber world to vent their problems instead of confronting them.

If you find that you must take your BlackBerry everywhere, including vacation, and during time with family, then you just might be suffering from a BlackBerry addiction. Continuing to allow the BlackBerry to interfere with relaxation time or family time might lead to havoc on one’s stress levels and relationships.