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1. It can keep you safe

1. It can keep you safe
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First, some good news. Your phone can keep you safer.

A study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine that analysed emergency dispatches over an 11-year period revealed that 137 more lives were saved per 100,000 patients when people called emergency services from a mobile phone rather than from a landline.

They can be pretty handy in a pinch. The mobile phone can also be a bane, both to yourself and others. Take a look at the 10 mobile phone etiquette rules you should be following – but aren’t.

2. It messes with your sleep

2. It messes with your sleep
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But there are plenty of concerns too. Scanning your phone right before bed can disturb your slumber.

The short-wavelength, bright blue light your device emits boosts your 
attention during the day, but at night the light can inhibit the production 
of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep.

To avoid that, make a habit of not using your phone for at least 30 minutes before you close your eyes.

There’s no blanket solution for insomnia. But if you’ve tried everything, here may be the bedroom secret that helps you reclaim your night-time rest.

3. It keeps you from focusing

3. It keeps you from focusing
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When you are awake, a single buzz signalling a new 
notification on your phone can weaken your ability to focus on a task, researchers at Florida State 
University have found.

Switch your phone to “do not disturb” mode to remove the distraction.

From charging the battery faster to taking a hands-free photo, these are the secret iPhone hacks you wish you knew about sooner.

4. Put it aside

4. Put it aside
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Putting your phone aside when you’re alone – rather than taking it out to play games­ – can help 
inspire creative ideas.

“When you’re bored, four different areas of your brain activate and work together 
to pull in random thoughts and 
combine them in unique ways,” says psychologist Larry Rosen, author of The Distracted Mind.

Looking for brain training games? Try these games that tap your innate genius to build a happy and resilient brain.

5. It makes you achy

5. It makes you achy
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People now spend more than five hours a day swiping, typing and tapping – and feeling achy because of it all.

“Selfie elbow” is a strain injury caused by holding your elbow at an extreme angle, and roughly 85,000 people a month search for “texting thumb” and similar terms on Google.

Love posting selfies on your favourite social media site? Follow our expert tips to avert your own Facebook faux pas and improve your social media encounters.

6. They’re dirty

6. They’re dirty
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Most mobile phones are crawling with germs – ten times what you would find on most toilets, says 
University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba.

Wipe your phone down daily with a gadget-friendly antibacterial wipe or a microfibre cloth.

It’s time you start washing your phone as often as you wash your hands.

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7. It can help you diet

7. It can help you diet
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That said, your phone can help you be healthier.

In a study of overweight volunteers, those who used a smartphone app to record their food intake were much more diligent than those who used a 
paper diary or a weight-loss ­website – and they lost almost 
twice as much weight.

Stuck in a weight-loss plateau? These surprising factors may be preventing you from reaching your goal weight.

8. Risk of cancer is low

8. Risk of cancer is low
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Radiation exposure, long thought to be a risk for heavy-duty phone users, is probably not a significant concern.

Smartphones do emit radiation, but most scientific evidence has not linked the use of a mobile phone to cancer.

One draft study found that exposing male lab rats to the highest levels allowed for mobile phones was linked to one type of rare tumor in the tissues surrounding nerves in the heart.

If you’re worried, use earbuds or a headset when you talk on your phone.

9. Maps are better for you than a GPS

9. Maps are better for you than a GPS
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Navigating by consulting a 
map and trying to remember it may be better for your brain than passively relying on step-by-step 
instructions from your phone’s GPS.

Researchers found that older adults who chose the more active approach increased activity in the hippo­campus, a part of the brain important for memory.

10. It hinders your memory

10. It hinders your memory
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Snapping a pic with your smartphone may also hinder your memory.

On a test after a visit to an art museum, students were less likely to remember objects they had taken photos of.

“As soon as you hit ‘click’ on that camera, it’s as if you’ve outsourced your memory,” says psychologist Linda Henkel.

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