I know what you’re thinking. “This guy has had a blog for a month and he is already writing about poop? How mature!”
However, despite how much your nine-year-old self still giggles when you hear the word “poop,” this is serious adult stuff. Please keep reading.
A few months ago I somehow got on the topic of texting while pooping with a friend of mine. I told her that I never do this (poop and use my smartphone at the same time), but that I prefer to be alone with my thoughts and the toilet. She didn’t believe me at all, and rightfully so. Guilty as charged.
A recent survey of Americans between ages 16 and 45 found that 99.9% use their smartphones while pooping. Ok, I made that statistic up, but the point is that it seems like everyone these days is multitasking while sitting on the can, whether they are texting, tweeting, Instragraming, emailing, Googling, or anything else. We all do it. We are all on our smartphones while we poop.
Are you giggling yet?
I became curious recently: are there repercussions to this? Should we be concerned? For thousands of years, humans have pooped without this added component. Clearly, it is not natural. Do we need to assess the possible implications? Men, I’m speaking mostly to you. What is this doing to you?
A recent Men’s Health article, Why You Shouldn’t Sit On the Toilet Longer Than 15 Minutes, outlined the health dangers (yes, dangers) of being on a smartphone while being on the john. I will summarize and add to those points here in my four simple arguments to ditch your smartphone while you poop.
Reason #1: Germs and Bacteria
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Calling All Germs, “your phone is covered in somewhere between 2,700 to 4,300 units of chloroform bacteria. In drinking water, the limit is less than 1 unit per 100 ml of water.”
Read the article for more information. To summarize: your hands are already infesting your smartphone with excessive amounts of germs on a regular basis. Then, when you handle it in the bathroom, it intensifies the infestation. You then put that same phone on your ear, near your mouth, and so on… While no one wants to believe that this might make us sick, common sense argues otherwise. Would you dip your hand into the toilet bowl and then wipe it on your ear? I hope not.
Reason #2: Danger to Your Colon
When you use your smartphone while pooping, your brain and colon can’t do what they are designed to do – communicate. The following is from Men’s Health’s article, Why You Shouldn’t Sit On the Toilet Longer Than 15 Minutes:
Focusing more on reading the paper or scrolling through your phone could get you out of pooping mode. Here’s why that happens: Something called the peristalsis wave—progressive, rhythmic contractions that move stool along your bowel—sparks your need to poop. Once the stool hits your rectum, you feel the urge to go, Dr. Thorkelson explains. If you don’t go when that feeling hits, you may experience a process called reverse peristalsis, where the stool backs up slightly into your colon, he says. This can make trying to poop even, well, harder. “Your colon extracts some of the fluid from your stool, which can contribute to constipation,” he adds. The harder and dryer your stool is, the more difficult it is to pass.
Reason #3: Time Spent and Time Wasted
How much time do you spend sitting on the toilet? If you get stuck on a good Buzzfeed article, or you can’t stop scrolling through the Twitter feed, you will probably sit there much longer than you otherwise would have if you hadn’t brought your phone into the bathroom.
If the average person poops 15 minutes each day and lives to 80 years of age, then he will spend 7,300 hours sitting on the can. Multiply that x2 if you poop twice per day or sit on the can twice as long. The average person will spend a full year (or more) of his life sitting on the toilet. Holy crap!
If you want to see how much time you have spent pooping, and get a good laugh at the same time, go to The Poop Calculator and enter your birthdate. Mine said I have killed 1.29 trees from 64,662 wipes of toilet paper and have had explosive diarrhea 647 times… I don’t know how this internet poop oracle knows this information, but she just does.
Don’t spend more time on the toilet than you need to.
Reason #4: Addiction
Because if you can’t take a poop in some peace and quiet away from your smartphone, then let’s be real, you have an addiction to information. I won’t set up an intervention for you, but you should start working on this addiction yourself, and this is one way to start.
There are so many better things to do with your life than to sit and poop for longer than you have to. Will you be the person who looks back on life and realizes you spent one, two, even three years of your life sitting on the john?
OK, now what? I’ve nearly convinced you, but you know it won’t be easy. You might even be panicking: “But what will I do in there?! All alone, without a phone and without contact to the outside world?!”
The best way to start is by taking a 14-day challenge to poop without touching your smartphone. You can do it, I know you can!