Forget Ebola, we’ve turned our smartphones into silent killing machines

smartphones silent killers demand respect dont smartphone addiction death v2
What’s wrong with us? Our smartphones are supposed to be devices that enrich our lives, make the day’s tasks easier to perform, and generally at like our little digital buddies. Instead, we’re using and abusing them to the point where they’re turning into silent killing machines we slip into our pockets.

Forget Ebola, our smartphones are all set to become the next fatal epidemic sweeping the world.

The problem is that we include our phones in everything we do, regardless of what it is, where, and with whom. The warning signs they could be turning against us have been visible for a while, yet we haven’t heeded them. Things escalated recently with the death of a Polish medical student, after she tragically plunged to her death while trying to take the perfect selfie. The accident followed a rash of equally dangerous selfies taken with bears. We’re not talking about Pooh or Paddington, but big, scary bears with teeth and claws — and for all we know, a problem with vain morons holding a smartphone.

Forget about the privacy and security scare stories, the real risk in modern phone ownership is us disregarding our own safety, or that of others around us when we’re using these things. This isn’t just a casual observation, it’s a shockingly well documented phenomenon, and if we don’t start to change our ways, our phones will see us all being measured up for coffins.

A thousand ways to die

You want proof? There’s plenty, and although it starts out innocently enough, it gets much worse. A survey of smartphone owners in the U.K. revealed a massive 86 percent of those polled had suffered an injury as a result of tripping, falling, or walking into a lamppost while using their phones. A doctor interviewed said she had seen a lot of mobile-related injuries in her surgery over the past year, and only expected the problem to get worse. Almost all were due to clumsiness, or lack of attention.

Forget about all the privacy and security scare stories, the real risk in modern phone ownership is us disregarding our own safety.

Humans have bumped into things for centuries, and have (mostly) lived to tell the tale. It’s when we stop brushing ourselves off because we’re missing limbs that’s the problem, and it’s headed that way now. In 2013, the Tokyo Fire Department noted a 50 percent increase in injuries where people were knocked down while crossing the road using their phones. The number of incidents is fewer than 50, but this is only the beginning, and it’s about to get really worrying.

A study commissioned by AT&T revealed that of the insufferable cretins who text while driving, 98 percent are aware of the dangers, and 75 percent of that number still do it. With shocking egotistical abandon, they believe they can “easily do several things at once, even while driving.” This is rubbish, unless you have independent control over each eye like a chameleon. Statistics show drivers are 23 times more likely to crash while texting, and in reality the practice kills 3,000 teenagers in the U.S. each year. In many of these cases, it’s a pedestrian who comes out worst.

Paul Souders snaps a selfie with a female grizzly
Paul Souders snaps a selfie with a female grizzly. (Image courtesy of picturecorrect.com via Imgur)

In this case from Scotland, a driver using her phone hit and killed another woman crossing the street. In London, a contractor didn’t notice the truck that would kill him seconds later, due to receiving a phone call as he walked out in the road.

None of these are isolated incidents, proving we can’t control ourselves when walking down the street, or in the car. It doesn’t stop there. At least 50 percent of surveyed 18-29 year-old Americans use their phone while on the toilet, despite warnings about massive amounts of harmful bacteria accumulating on the screen. Opticians are warning staring at smartphones will damage our eyes, doctors tell us out posture is being ruined due to the way we hold the devices, and psychologists have noted anxiety, depression and other behavioral problems in children who have been identified as excessive phone users.

Don’t let them determine our fate

Taken individually, these are little more than anecdotes. A blip on the stellar timeline of the digital age. However, put them all together and it’s overwhelming evidence our phones are ruthless killers in the making. How can they be stopped? It’s simple. We need to stop being obsessive, phone-touting fools who think we’re indestructible, and start using them respectfully. That said, it’s important to make the distinction between dangerously using a mobile device when driving or standing on the edge of a precipice and using one in general.

This is rubbish, unless you have independent control over each eye like a chameleon.

Staring at our phone while sitting at a bus stop, having dinner, or even having sex isn’t dangerous. Not everyone will give you a round of applause, but whatever made you grab your phone at that moment must mean the overall situation isn’t meeting expectations. Compared to taking selfies with bears, it’s the behavior of a rational, normal human being, and outside of being punched by your intimate partner, unlikely to be the cause of a hideous, life-threatening injury.

The ease with which smartphones have been integrated into our lives has seen us ignore the very real dangers that come with using a device that seems so friendly, but is in fact the prospective orchestrator of our very own scene in Final Destination. The bleeding hearts who bang on about phones ruining our social lives, or shutting out our fellow humans are missing the point. We shouldn’t temper our phone usage for these frivolous reasons — but because if we don’t start to exercise some restraint, they could actually be the death of us.

Lead image courtesy of Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Mobile

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.
Gaming

How to delete and reinstall games on your Xbox One

Removing and reinstalling games on the Xbox One's hard drive isn't difficult, but it's a process that not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, our guide will run you through each step so you'll know precisely what to do.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Mobile

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Mobile

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Deals

Amazon slashes price of 2018 iPad to under $250 in time for Christmas

Whether you love Apple or prefer Android, this 2018 iPad 32GB tablet deal is rather tempting. If you're still on the hunt for gifts, then this deep discount from Amazon makes now an excellent time to pick one up.