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Keeping your smartphone nearby may not be so smart

August 2, 2017

About the Author

photo of Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio
View all posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD


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August 11, 2017

It’s interesting how many of us (not everybody) are convinced that “this may be true for some other people but not for ME.”

Morley Markson
August 8, 2017

it’s not just the iphone, it’s the constant barrage of active problem-solving advertisements like the one above, that take me away from my work…. yet I can glean, in a moment, the essence of your research, your statement, and am reassured that distancing myself from constant availabilily to to a universe-full of good suggestions and necessary ideas, like yours. Thank you. Now, isn’t that ironic? The solution, of course, and as always, is balance, scheduling. End of this time slot. End of this reply.

Hérold Jean-François
August 8, 2017

I think it’s not only students, smart phone’s addiction make everyone lost a lot of time more even than we realize. This study is acurate and we must pay attention to be more productive in our works using our cellular phone in a rational way.
The entire world would be more competitive if professionals were less addict to cellular phone and his distractive power.

August 7, 2017

Our cognitive development shrink gradually as long as we are in high touch with the high tech
The more we rely on the high tech the less we depend on the high touch
Unfortunately the smart technology destroy our brain as well as our nerves cells and not only that but we are becoming addicted and slaves to it
in the past decades we were independent of all this , nowadays it’s becoming essential in our daily life and we all depend on it
The biggest question remains unclear whether to stop relying on using smart technology and use our smart biological brain or to depend on someone else’s….. that cause brain damage

August 7, 2017

I would be willing to guess that the frequency that the subjects usually text, answer texts, call or answer calls, or play games will distract concentration with the more frequent user. The brain is like cyclical and use to this use of a cell phone reoccuring at certain intervals setting up an unconscious expectation that distracts the subject.

ron beAGLE
August 7, 2017

Conclusion; college students who have no responsibilities
that involve communications from others on a smart phone
should leave them alone while doing tasks as long as the reward from doing the task outweighs the the benefit of receiving
information that might come in on their cell phone.

RS Mallory
August 7, 2017

EMF’s are all over the place in our Electronic Age. I use BioZen anti electro smog stickers on my phones, blue tooth, even car (it has a computer), TV, Stereo and IF I had a microwave I would put one there too 😉 Also great for electrical outlets if you’ve got little kids, pets or grandkids close to floor level 😉 is where I get mine.

August 7, 2017

I wonder if this is equally true for all generations? The study focused on college students; do older adults and elementary school students have the problem to the same degree?

August 7, 2017

Theirs a time for everything.. key is common sense.Priscilla

August 7, 2017

It’s not just concentration that is being affected by these type of devices.
It is our health also. They emit radiation which is especially risky when it is pressed up against your head. Children are especially vulnerable as their skulls are still forming and soft. Radiation passes more easily into their brains. In some countries, children are not allowed to own or use a device such as a smartphone because of these concerns.

More information can be found on line about this issue. There is a list of which phones emit the most radiation. IPads also fall into this category .

August 7, 2017

What about Fitbits? I can feel heat on my skin!

August 7, 2017

According to my studies as early as 2004, cell phones can be dangerous to our health. While a periodic interference might not be harmful, the electro-magnetic radiation is definitely harmful despite what the Telecom industry says. As an example, it would be suicidal for me to keep my cell phone within 20 inches from my Pacemaker because it would disturb
the Pacemaker’s signals.

Faripour Forouhar, M.D.
August 7, 2017

I am reading the comments and am compelled to comment that most people underestimate the unconscious impact of the psychological energy drain that electronic media instigates; among other harms such as attention deficit to real world.
It has also come to light that designer of these media in particular cell phones, very methodically use all psychological knowledge available to make the cell phones as “addictive” as possible, so that people keep “going for them”.

Mai Lanh
August 7, 2017

I agree with this findings.
Smart phone make us no focus!

Gurpal kingra
August 7, 2017

Too much reliance on cell phone or any computer makes us less likely to use our god given ability to think and focus on subject at hand.

August 6, 2017

Perhaps written by a boss, teacher, or someone else in a disproportionate amount of power who wants to confiscate smartphones and possibly the data inside?

August 7, 2017

Oh, please. Seriously???

August 4, 2017

Seems like they were just distracted knowing the answers to the questions were only within an arm’s reach.

August 7, 2017

That was exactly my thought, Nancy. They’re thinking, “if I could just use this phone– this one right next to me–, I could solve this problem so much faster! And I could be confident that the answer was right. ” THAT is what’s affecting their functioning.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

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