If you’re guilty of scrolling through Twitter as you’re trying to fall asleep, you might want to be a little more cautious about where you set your phone down so it can charge overnight. One fire department is warning people that charging your phone in bed could be dangerous, showing just how serious the heat it creates can be.
In a post on their Facebook page, the Newton, New Hampshire Fire Department wants people to know that placing your phone on your bed, especially under your pillow, as it’s charging can be a pretty severe fire hazard. “The heat generated cannot dissipate and the charger will become hotter and hotter,” the fire department’s post states. “The likely result is that the pillow/bed will catch fire.” As the post states, previous studies report over half of children and teens leave their phone to change on their bed. Thirty-eight percent say they keep their phone under their pillow overnight.
As the accompanying pictures the fire department posted show, the results of an overheated charger can be severe. The 2017 Hartford Home Fire Index indicates that charging your phone on your bed overnight is “high risk,” one equivalent to leaving a candle burning or your stove on. On behalf of everyone who’s ever worried about leaving their oven on but doesn’t think twice about charging their phone on their bed, let me just say: Yikes.
This isn’t the first time science has suggested our phones are trying to kill us. Head and neck pain, trouble sleeping, and spreading germs and bacteria are just a few of the ways phones might be ruining your health. It’s not just our physical health; phone usage could also be affecting our mental health. From increased anxiety and stress to causing symptoms of addiction, some studies suggest too much screen time could be sabotaging your mental health.
There’s also arguably a lot of good that technology does for our overall health. From apps for self-care to tools for stress management, that are plenty of ways tech can make health care more accessible. In fact, a lot of these conversations on how phones affect our health are similar to, say, the way we talk about microwaves and health. As with any newer technology that changes our daily habits, conversations about phones and health are more complicated than the binary “good” or “bad.”
While the longer-term effects like eye sight or attention span are still up for debate, phone’s being a fire hazard is pretty cut and dried. Basically, if you’re looking for a better way to charge your phone, maybe start by making sure you set it on the dresser or somewhere significantly less flammable.