• Michael Weeding

WARNING, Excessive Smartphone usage increases your chances of sleep walking.

A Smartphone is dangerous, we know about the dangers of using it when we drive a car, in fact most developed countries have laws that actually control the way you can use this device when you drive. We hear about the risks from radiation if we use our phones for extended periods of time and there is a well-known debate as to whether or not this is a long term health risk. But there are other dangers of using a Smartphone that are not so well publicised and in the interest of the safety for those who read this blog I thought I would share a few points on a phenomenon that more and more people are doing as a result of consuming more and more content on a Smartphone or a Tablet that resembles “Sleep Walking”.

Before I get into this the first point I need to make is that from the research that I have read it is clear that the act of doing more than one thing at the same time, also known as Multitasking is largely an illusion. The research concludes you can’t do it, at least not very well as when we perform two cognitive tasks we actually switch between them rather than doing them simultaneously. Although we are able to perform a task that requires less cognitive resources, also known as automaticity as this task is regulated by the brain as a learned behaviour. Learned tasks become more automatic over time, hence why can talk on the phone and breathe at the same time.

If you are comfortable with this research then the ability to walk and consume content at the same time is not possible, nor is it practical although this practice is becoming more and more common every day. Within one week I have witnessed a man trip and fall out a bus door whilst continuing to read the newspaper on his phone as he failed to see that there was a big step to navigate once he left the bus. In another incident a lady whilst engrossed in her phone walked straight onto a busy street and was nearly run over by a bus. Both were so consumed with the content on their phones that they failed to see the dangers around them.

So while I promote consuming content through the Smartphone or Tablet (particularly from this blog), it comes at a risk as this will suck your brains cognitive resources, if you do this when you have other important tasks to do, such as navigating the environment in which you are walking it could be a mistake for your health and wellbeing. You have been warned.