Fancy computer phones are great. They let us communicate, work, document, learn, complain, order dinner, find consensual sex friends and plenty of other fun things. If I could attach myself to my phone with some sort of strange, dystopian umbilical cord-like apparatus, I would.
But there is one thing you should never do with a smartphone: Sleep with it. (No, not like that.)
Take it from Melanie Tan Pelaez, an Australian woman who recently woke up with painful, second-degree burns on her arm. After a visit to the hospital, she was apparently told her flesh was fried by a foreign object, which she later determined was a plugged-in iPhone 7.
"We matched the markings on my arm to the phone and charger," she told News.com.au.
There's a chance, of course, that Pelaez's story is false. (Apple told News.com.au it was in touch with Pelaez to investigate the incident; an Apple spokesperson confirmed to us that the company is working with Pelaez to investigate the incident, but declined to offer up any further details.) But it's not an impossible scenario, and though they're relatively rare, grisly claims like this do pop up every so often. It's not just phones, either — laptops are out to get us, too.
Don't put your cellphone under a pillow when sleeping or when charging your device.Please share this tip and b safe! pic.twitter.com/uwD3PXgVQf
— NYPD 33rd Precinct (@NYPD33Pct) February 16, 2016
An issue like Pelaez's is the often result of bad practice, and usually presents itself when a device is charging. A gadget is designed to give off excess warmth if it starts to overheat, but if it's blocked from doing that — by, say, the arm or torso of an unconscious human — it transfers that excess heat to whatever it's touching.
This outcome is different than the explosion-related problems that plagued the Samsung Note7 earlier this year. Those issues weren't necessarily user-related, but rather a symptom of faulty batteries.
But sleeping with your phone bears more risks than injury. Besides the burn danger, phones can also be a distraction when it comes to getting enough sleep. (To be fair, however, when else are you supposed to look for a consensual sex friend but right before bed?) The blue light beaming out from the screens can mess up sleep patterns, and while settings and apps like Night Shift and f.lux are designed to stop this from happening, the best solution is to leave the damn phone alone.
Just put it down. Leave it next to your bed. Put it in a different room. Turn it off. Give it to someone else to play with. Leave it next to that giant pile of bills as a deterrent.
Or don't! We're not your parents or supreme leader. But don't say no one warned you.