If you’ve ever brought your phone into the bathroom with you, you’re among the majority. According to a survey by BankMyCell, 80% of men and 69% of women take their phones into the restroom with them.
When in public places, perhaps it’s the toilet partitions that give cell phone users a sense of privacy to check their messages. And we’ve all heard the stories about people who rush off to the restroom to call their friend to rescue them from a bad date.
But here’s the thing – the survey doesn’t showcase special circumstances. Instead, it reveals a habit that many people don’t even realize they have; they roll out of bed in the morning to use the restroom and grab their smartphones. They’re cooking in the kitchen and have to go to the bathroom and slip their smartphone into their pocket.
Why is this? What do people fear so much that they can’t leave their phones for a few minutes? We’ll share some fascinating, science-backed information that answers these questions here.
The Psychology Behind Using Phones in Bathrooms
According to the findings of some psychoanalysts, it might not be the act of using a phone that causes people to want to carry them into the restroom, but the act of reading itself.
Back in the day, it was common for people to keep a basket of magazines or books beside the toilet, even in bathrooms with multiple toilet partitions. Therefore, these psychoanalysts believe that reading is a way for people to feed their minds while simultaneously losing part of themselves through their excretions.
Many people who take their cell phones into the bathroom don’t consider the sanitation implications it can have. And just because you don’t set your phone on the toilet seat doesn’t mean that it’s clear of germs.
On the contrary – according to www.fastpartitions.com, bathroom sinks have more germs than any other part of the bathroom, averaging more than 1,000 colony-forming units. That’s more than bathroom stall partitions themselves! Gross.
Returning to the survey by BankMyCell that we talked about earlier, they found that about 90% of people wash their hands after using the bathroom. However, less than 17% of people clean their phones.
So, if you have the habit of taking your phone into the bathroom with you, there’s a high chance that you’re spreading bathroom germs all over your house. If that’s not enough incentive to leave your phone in the living room when you run to the restroom, we don’t know what is.
Legitimate Reasons Why People Take Their Phones into the Bathroom
It’s fun to make jokes about people taking their phones into the bathroom. But in reality, sometimes there are good reasons for it. And there are certainly health reasons to support going to the restroom when the urge strikes – holding back urine and bowel movements is damaging to your body.
Examples of understandable reasons why people take their phone into the bathroom include:
- Being in the midst of an important texting conversation and not wanting to go silent on the person.
- Being in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation and wanting to seek help for getting out of it.
- You don’t want someone to see what pops up on your screen.
From planning a surprise birthday party for your 100-year-old grandma to cheating on a partner, I think we can all agree that there are many reasons why some people don’t want to leave their phone lying around while they’re in the restroom.
The Issue With Taking Your Phone into the Bathroom
While nearly 90% of people have taken their phone into the bathroom at some point in their lives, it’s the chronic bathroom phone users that sometimes worry families and doctors since it may point to an underlying problem.
According to studies, adolescents, in particular, have a high chance of becoming addicted to their smartphones. But regardless of the age of a person, when a phone addiction sets in, it becomes a stressful situation for the person to be out of reach of their device.
Signs that you or someone you know may be addicted to their phone include:
- Inability to reduce their phone usage, despite saying they will.
- Turning to their smartphone whenever they feel bored.
- Feeling anxious or depressed when their phone isn’t within reach.
- Losing relationships over phone usage, with the person choosing their phone over physical human interaction.
Furthermore, bathroom phone usage and phone addiction can become a grey area; if someone starts nagging another person about the amount of time they spend on the phone, they may escape to the bathroom to use it out of sight.
Likewise, students may use bathroom stalls with toilet partitions to avoid teachers who would reprimand them for using their phones during school.
The Hemorrhoid Debate
If your parent or partner nags you about bringing your phone into the bathroom, they may use the reasoning that it’ll create hemorrhoids. Of course, any reasonable person understands phones themselves can’t cause hemorrhoids.
However, there’s some science that backs up the theory that spending prolonged periods sitting on a toilet may cause this uncomfortable condition. That’s because sitting on a toilet creates more pressure on the lower rectum, which in turn can cause hemorrhoids.
So, the next time someone tells you that using your phone in the bathroom causes hemorrhoids, you’ll have science-backed data to share with them.
For most people, using their phone in the bathroom is a harmless habit, albeit one they’re often not mindful of. Other people use phones in the bathroom to seek help, prevent someone from seeing their screen, or not interrupt a delicate conversation (hopefully, one by text message and not on the phone).
However, sometimes bringing your phone into the bathroom can be a sign of an addiction. If you feel that you or someone you know has a smartphone addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for help. Smartphones have their place in our lives, but they should never rule them.