On September 30, international media reported the tragic death of Alua Asetkyzy Abzalbek, caused by the explosion of her smartphone under her pillow.
The 14-year-old is said to have gone to bed listening to music on her charging smartphone in Bastobe, Kazakhstan.
According to local reports, forensic experts confirmed the mobile explosion to have happened in the wee hours of the morning, after overheating as it charged.
Alua's death follows a trend of deaths involving mobile phones around the world. But a battery explosion is not the only threat a smartphone poses to our lives.
Below are some smartphones risks that we may not be aware of:
“On average, we spend three hours and 15 minutes a day on our phones and most people check their phones 58 times a day (with 30 of those during working hours)”, reads a screen time 2019 report.
A serious addiction can arise from this reliance on the smartphone. A study conducted by secure envoy in 2012 on 1000 employees in the UK, stated that 66 per cent had “nomophobia”, or the fear of being without your phone. In 2011 that number was 53 per cent.
Apart from nomophobia, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million accidents in the world, and nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from misfortunes caused by texting while driving.
Moreover, NSC added, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk. In Rwanda, road accidents are among the leading causes of death.
Smartphone users tend to use their phones before sleeping and end up sleeping with them. Unlike Alua’s scenario, some make it through the night and think they are safe. Well, they are not.
In a survey conducted by BankMyCell, a price comparison site, in 2019, 87 per cent (a 7-point rise from 2018) of smartphone users in the US check their phones within an hour of waking up or going to sleep. According to Harvard researchers, this habit is not healthy, as the light that smartphones emit can suppress melatonin production, the hormone that balances your sleep cycle.
This can give rise to other problems such as mood swings, road accidents, or even dwindle one’s sex drive.
DECREASED SOCIAL INTERACTION
Radical smartphone users are more connected to the virtual world than the real one. This brings about negative effects on the social life of the user.
Published in an article titled “Can you connect with me now?” in 2012, the results of a study conducted on social and personal relationships showed that people with mobile phones manifested lower levels of relationship quality, trust, and empathy compared to their peers who had no phone.
While this may be true, smartphones have also been beneficial to people at large, such as increased productivity, instant communications among many others. Nevertheless, using these gadgets at the right time in the right place can help the user lead a healthier life.