Using computers can cause cancer

Fact check: does the smartphone make you sick?

WhatsApp, Instagram, phone calls: For most people in this country, cell phones have become indispensable. What are the health effects?

It is a small device that has revolutionized our everyday life. The smartphone has been on the advance for years - eight out of ten people in Germany now use it. The industry association Bitkom estimates the number of smartphone users in this country at 57 million. Technology has long since conquered the country, but many people are unsure: are they addicting or do they even cause cancer? Seven theses and the facts.

Claim: Smartphones are addicting

Assessment: That's right.

Facts: "With the arrival of the smartphone, online addiction has taken on a new dynamic," says addiction researcher Bert te Wildt, chief physician at the Psychosomatic Clinic Kloster Dießen near Munich. In particular, the dependency on social media has increased due to the smartphone. "When the first glance at the cell phone is in the morning and the last one in the evening, those affected have to ask themselves: Does this device still serve me or do I serve it?" Around one percent of the population in Germany is already considered to be internet dependent. Younger people are particularly affected: in the age group from 14 to 24 years old, 2.4 percent of women and 2.5 percent of men show addictive behavior. This is the result of the so-called “Pinta” study, which the Lübeck psychologist Hans-Jürgen Rumpf carried out on behalf of the federal government. Rumpf observes a gender difference: while young men are susceptible to online games and pornography, young women are more likely to be addicted to social media. "And this addiction is mainly satisfied via the smartphone," says te Wildt. He recommends monitoring your own use: "It makes sense to think about times, rooms and situations in which the smartphone is off - this can be while eating or an hour before going to bed."

»Test: Are you addicted to cell phones?

Claim: smartphone use harms back and hands

Assessment: That's right.

Facts: “Smartphones combine display and keyboard. This unit actually makes it impossible to find a posture that is optimal for all areas of the body at the same time, ”says Patricia Tegtmeier from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. She and her team evaluated 41 studies from 2007 to 2016 and came to the conclusion: "If the smartphone is used very intensively and continuously, the risk of musculoskeletal disorders can increase." In addition to neck tension, a hunched posture Rapid, repeated typing on small displays carries an increased risk of tendinitis on the wrists and thumbs. A study by the University Hospital of Granada published in the journal “The Lancet” reported four years ago about a Spanish patient who had to be treated for tendinitis on both thumbs after six hours of typing on a mobile phone. At the time, doctors spoke of a new disease, "WhatsAppitis". “Touchscreen devices are generally useful for short periods of use. But if you want to type longer texts, you should use an external keyboard, ”says Tegtmeier. She also recommends changing postures frequently. "Instead of holding the smartphone in one hand, you can use both hands."