According to the most recent figures, the average American looks at his mobile phone 150 times a day. Another study even puts forward the alarming figure of 300 times a day.

For the youngest, the attachment to the mobile phone is particularly important; 53% of Americans aged between 15 and 30 admit that they would rather lose their sense of taste than their smartphone.

These data indicate that a good part of these young people are completely dependent on their smartphones. The fact that 80-90% of people use their phones while driving, which takes the lives of 6,000 people every year, clearly shows that there is something wrong with our relationship to mobile phones.

The mobile phone

The use of mobile phones is a big deal in fulfilling the necessary daily needs, as it has become an essential part of modern communication methods in the lives of individuals, whether in developed or developing countries. So the mobile phone market is growing, and the producing companies compete to produce the ideal phone that contains all the qualities.

The least harmful effects on health resulting from its prolonged use and the mechanism of cell phone work is based on the release of radio frequencies, which is a form of electromagnetic radiation. And the danger of these rays lies in their ability to penetrate living tissues near the phone, which results in various diseases. In addition, the emitted radiation is carcinogenic. The amount of energy generated by phones depends on the technology of phones, the distance between the phone and its user, and the distance between the user from cell phone towers.

The mobile phone, a harmless element of our daily life?

Mobile phones are widely used. As part of a Special Eurobarometer survey carried out in April 2017, 93% of European Union (EU) citizens questioned had a personal cell phone. However, there are concerns that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by mobile phones, may be harmful to health. Many studies have been conducted, including on the potential risk of cancer, especially of the head and neck. However, scientific opinion is divided on the strength of the evidence and the conclusions to be drawn from it. Furthermore, there is an ongoing debate about causation and possible effects on humans. An example is the findings of two large animal studies, one American and the other Italian, recently published.

Exposure levels

Mobile phones are low-energy radio frequency transmitters, operating at frequencies between 450 and 2700 MHz, the maximum emission being between 0.1 and 2 watts. The device only transmits energy when it is switched on. This energy (and therefore the user's RF exposure) decreases rapidly with distance. Therefore, a person using a mobile phone that is 30-40 cm from their body, for example, to send text messages, connect to the Internet, or with a "hands-free" kit; will have a much higher level of exposure to electromagnetic fields weaker than someone holding their cell phone close to their ear.

In addition to the use of "hands-free" kits, which keep a certain distance between the device and the head or body during calls, exposure can also be reduced by limiting the number and duration of calls. Using the phone in good reception conditions also limits exposure since the phone can transmit using less energy. However, commercial devices that claim to reduce RF exposure have not been shown to be operative.

Mobile phones are often forbidden in hospitals and onboard aircraft, as radio frequency signals can interfere with certain medical electrical devices and navigation systems.

What are the effects of the mobile phone on health?

A large number of studies have been conducted over the past two decades to determine whether cell phones pose a potential health risk. To date, it has never been established that the mobile phone can be the cause of a harmful effect on health.

Short term effects

The primary mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency energy and the human body is tissue heating. At the frequencies used by mobile phones, most of the energy is captivated by the skin and other superficial tissues, which results in a negligible increase in temperature in the brain or any other organ of the body.

A number of studies have investigated the effects of radiofrequency fields on the electrical activity of the brain, cognitive functions, sleep, heart rate, and blood pressure of the volunteers examined. To date, research has provided no significant evidence of adverse health effects caused by exposure to radiofrequency fields at levels below those that induce tissue heating. Additionally, research has failed to provide data supporting a causal relationship between EMF exposure and user-reported symptoms, or "electromagnetic hypersensitivity."

Long term effects

Epidemiological research that examines the potential long-term risks of RF exposure has essentially looked for a link between brain tumors and cell phone use. However, because many cancers cannot be detected until many years after the interactions that led to the tumor, and because mobile phones were not widely used before the early 1990s, epidemiological studies today can only assess cancers that appear within a shorter period of time. However, results from animal studies consistently show that there is no increased risk of cancer from prolonged exposure to radiofrequency fields.

Mobile phone addiction; the signs that should alert

Several elements can alert, starting with the number of hours spent on your phone. Like the number of cigarettes or the number of glasses of alcohol consumed, these figures can constitute a first barometer to gauge the level of dependence.

The repercussions of cell phone overuse on personal life can also give indications of potential addiction. Among these consequences, we find sleep disorders, difficulty falling asleep, fatigue, or social isolation.

Another element to consider is the time that elapses between getting up and the first consultation of the smartphone; the shorter it is, the stronger the addiction. Craving, in other words, the irresistible urge to use your cell phone, is also a strong marker of mobile addiction.

Once these different factors have been identified, how can we fight cell phone addiction? Here are 5 practical tips to achieve this.

- Ban the cell phone from the room

- Turn off your cell phone at night

- Set screen time

- Take advantage of the holidays to pick up your phone

- Switch your screen to black and white