You don’t need a sociologist to tell you that there are a bunch of people who are clearly addicted to their smartphones ambling around like mindless zombies constantly updating their social media feeds or searching for an outlet or charger to juice up their device. In fact, many of us sleep with a cell phone charger right next to our bed, and some of us actually bring our chargers into the bed with us.
And even though I’m fully aware of this fact, I can’t help but catch myself reaching for my phone and opening up a social media app despite recently closing it minutes earlier, just out of sheer habit.
I’m not going to sit here and say that smartphones are evil, they’re amazingly revolutionary devices. But we are dependent on them: Our phone is usually the first thing we see when wake up in the morning and the last thing we look at before we go to bed.
But this fire department’s Facebook post shows that sleeping with your cell phone charger in bed could be a very, very bad idea, especially if you tuck it under your blanket or pillow, the way a lot of people do.
I get putting a phone under your head: You’re making sure that you not only hear your alarm but get the added boost of that sweet vibration ringing in your cranium.
And when you think about it, it totally makes sense that they do, because chargers create the perfect conditions for a fire to start: flammable material, insulation, and a highly conductive cable.
The Newton, New Hampshire Fire Department explained why this is such a widespread problem, urging people to curb their children (and themselves) from charging phones this way.
Research has revealed that 53% of children/teens charge their phone or tablet either on their bed or under their pillow. This is can be extremely dangerous. The heat generated cannot dissipate and the charger will become hotter and hotter. The likely result is that the pillow/bed will catch fire. This places the child/teen as well as everyone else in the home in great danger. Please check where you & your family charge your mobile devices.
Look, it’s bad enough that Apple’s lightning cables seemingly break for no reason whatsoever, so don’t go making things worse by stuffing them under a comforter and burning them (and possibly yourself) to a crisp, OK?
It also doesn’t help if you’re using cheapo chargers that aren’t certified to work with your device. So maybe stay away from those dingy-looking gas station lightning cables, and opt for the still-affordable Amazon Basics version, or an official wire from Apple. If you’re rocking an Android device, Anker’s a pretty trusted brand, but you’ve definitely got a ton of good options, too.
The fire department’s post was shared over 39,000 times and racked up over 2.5k comments, with many people tagging their friends or shamefully admitting to engaging in the same bed-charging practices.
There are other dangers to using a phone before bed that aren’t restricted to going up in flames: It could also have a huge impact on your sleeping schedule.
Studies have shown that people who use their phone or tablet right before bed are negatively impacted by the blue light on their screens. Many find it difficult to stay awake as a result.
Since our growth hormones, the natural chemical our bodies produces that assists in the development of our bodies and a whole bevy of other functions, are most produced when we are sleeping, it’s imperative that children get a healthy amount of sleep while growing up.
Inhibiting that amount of sleep could hinder their mental and physical development which leads to sleeping, eating, and other health disorders. So what’s the best way to combat this issue?
Researchers say that cutting off screen time a minimum of 90 minutes before you plan on putting the little ones down to bed is an absolute must to ensure that they’re able to sleep more quickly.
Which means no smartphones or tablets in their bedrooms before bed. This way, you can kill two birds with one stone: You know they won’t be charging their device on their bed (because it’s not in the bedroom) and you know that they’re not going to be staying up at all hours of the night Snapchatting or Fortnighting away, or whatever kids do these days.
If you have kids who are old enough to have a smartphone (honestly I don’t even know what that age is, I’ve seen 5-year-olds with iPhones), the best way to get them to stop using it so much is to lead by example.
So if you’re addicted to your devices, maybe slow down on using them a bit before you try to stop your kid from being so absorbed in their phone or tablet.