Risky business: Five dangerous situations our phones encounter

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: February 3, 2013

Well, today is Super Bowl Sunday in The States, and coming from a city whose team hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since 1970 I can’t say that I’ve ever found this day particularly interesting except for the halftime show. Fortunately I have a job to do which gives me an excuse not to watch it – for a little while, anyway. Moving right along, then!

So today I had a small heart attack when I couldn’t find my phone. I had just moved some laundry into the dryer, and when I came back upstairs I discovered I had no idea where I’d last seen my phone. I nervously asked Riley if he knew where mama’s phone went, and to my horror he replied with, “Phone bath?” … Oh no. Not a phone bath. I don’t even know what that means but it doesn’t sound good, and I imagine it was taking place in the bathroom. So I sort of speed-walk to the bathroom and to my relief I discover that the phone was only resting on the side of the tub and hadn’t actually gotten in any danger of having a real “phone bath”. But that got me to thinking…

We certainly put our phones in a lot of dangerous situations, don’t we? For something that holds so much of our lives like passwords, bank accounts, and a whole slew of personal information we can sometimes be quite careless. So I came up my top five list of things people do that deem carrying our phones “risky business”.

Risky Business Number 5: Leaving your device in the pockets of your pants

I’m not going to lie, earlier when I realized I had not seen my phone for while I feared that the worst had already been done – I had left my phone in the pocket of my jeans, and the soul of Siri would forever be submerged within the deepest depths of my washing machine. Fortunately that wasn’t the case, but there have been a couple of times where I wasn’t so lucky. I’ve washed my phone beyond repair twice in my life now, and face-palmed equally as hard both times, followed by failed attempts at submerging my phone in rice to soak out the moisture afterwards. This is probably one of the most common dangers our phones encounter because it’s so easy to just toss your clothes in and forget that anything important was left in them.

Risky Business Number 4: Using your phone without a case

Yesterday our newest contributor, Chase, mentioned that phones are becoming too thin and perhaps it has become problem that needs to be addressed. After all, some people want to enjoy the phone for the design it was meant to have. It’s like buying a fancy new car and then having to drive around with a tarp over it all the time (albeit some “tarps” are very nice, fitted tarps). Unfortunately with a lot of devices, going without a case means your device is officially at a high danger level and very vulnerable. Until (some) phones are made out of better material (I hear Nokia is working on making phones with graphene, the hardest material known to man – go Nokia!) going without a case is definitely classified as risky business.

Risky Business Number 3: Setting your phone on top of your car at the gas station

I’m somewhat of an observant person, and I’ve never really figured out whether that makes me a “creeper” or a “people watcher”, but I’ve decided for the sake of my dignity that I call myself a “people watcher” for this article. While at the gas station I usually see at least one person putting their phone on top of their car while pumping gas. Most of the time they remember to grab it before taking off, but there was one particular instance where somebody left their phone on top of the car and started to drive off. Fortunately I was able to act like a fool enough to catch their attention before the phone actually fell off of their car. This one could serve as a double whammy because falling off the car onto the ground isn’t a guarantee that it will shatter, and it puts your phone at risk for being stolen as well.

Risky Business Number 2: Setting your phone down in public places

I debated whether to put this at number 2 or number 3, but decided at number 2 merely because it’s more common and I think everybody has had that “Uh oh,” feeling where you realize you just drove 15 miles away from the last store you were at and your phone is nowhere to be found. On the way back to said location, you try and think of every place you might have set it down. You visit cashiers and customer service and scavenge the place top to bottom for it. After you’ve checked every last place and each place you visit comes up empty-handed, you sulk across the parking lot and slump back into the drivers’ seat of your car only to hear a familiar buzz buzz and the muffled ringtone of your favorite TV show come from between the seats. Never has the “Friends” theme song sounded more appropriate. You’ll be there for me indeed, cell phone.

Risky Business Number 1: Taking your phone in the bathroom

Inevitably, this had to be at number one. There are two kinds of people in this world: the kind that have taken their phones in the bathroom, and the kind that lie about doing so. I don’t care if you don’t even use the phone while you’re in the bathroom – it’s still there with you. Although I won’t delve into the details of exactly why this is a high risk area, I will say that this is literally where phones go to die. There is nothing for them here. The purpose of this room is water and water and electricity simply do not mix. Nevertheless we ignore this fact and take it right on in with us just about every time. Risky business, indeed!

Of course, just about any situation can turn into a “risky business” situation for our phones, but these were the ones that I happen to see most often. Readers, what type of risky situations do your phones often encounter? I’m interested to hear your stories, so let me know in the comments!