Have you ever felt a sudden bout of nausea while scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed? Turns out there is a perfectly reasonable cause, but interestingly, it doesn’t affect everyone.
Those more prone to experiencing this are the ones who also experience motion sickness – a sensation inducing dizziness and nausea brought on by there being a mismatch between the information the brain receives from the inner ear balance mechanism and what the eyes see.
When giving all your attention to your screen, your brain can suffer from the cognitive dissonance of seeing movement while the rest of your body stays still.
For those with an iPhone, Apple has developed a solution of sorts: if you open Settings, General, then Accessibility, you can switch on Reduce Motion. The function is designed to reduce the sickening feeling induced by scrolling, however experts aren’t entirely satisfied with this solution.
Research has suggested exposure to virtual environments, including on your phone, can impair your ability to react to stimuli down the track.
The effects have been likened to the sensation of being intoxicated, which can make it difficult when undertaking everyday tasks like driving.
Perhaps the best solution is putting the phone down and taking a break from staring at the screen.
If you’re someone that’s prone to cyber sickness, consider getting into games that don’t involve virtual reality like board or card games. You could also stave off symptoms by scheduling frequent screen breaks, but if they worse you will want to see a health-care provider.