We’ve all experienced a scenario where we’ve dropped our smartphone then had a mini heart attack when checking if the screen’s cracked. Some more than others I suspect, myself included. To answer the title: very. A cracked phone screen is a fire hazard for a start, and secondly you could be exposing yourself to radiation. Even the Samsung Health and Safety Warranty Guide states that if your phone screen becomes compromised you should stop using the device as it could cause injury.
The screen on a smartphone doesn’t just give you a way to interact and use the phone, it also has the secondary role of keeping you from the electrical workings underneath. So, if the screen is cracked not only does it cause the aforementioned issues but also carries a risk of electric shock. The phone is classified as a fire risk because, depending on the damage sustained to the screen, the device may struggle to regulate its battery / energy output. This irregular output can cause the phone to become too hot, meaning it has the potential to burn you or cause a fire; this fire risk is then further increased when dust begins to accumulate in the cracks.
It’s safe to clean a non-cracked screen with a lightly dampened cloth, I’m sure we’ve all used the glasses technique where you breathe on the screen and then wipe it on your shirt or edge of your jacket. However, if your screen’s cracked, it’s no longer able to keep water droplets from working their way inside the phone, making it more likely that liquid will come into contact with important internal components which can short-out and further damage the device.
After the screen shatters not only do the cracks cause a visual obstruction which leads to potential eyestrain, the capacity for touch functionality will also become reduced, this means it may take longer for your phone to respond to gestures or stop responding altogether. Furthermore, finger oils, dust, and debris will work their way into the cracks and further damage the screen and functionality.
Moreover, given the material the screen’s are made of, even if shatter resistant or reinforced, broken glass or acrylic can have sharp edges or through continued use slithers can become loose which could put you at risk of slicing your fingers or hands. Not only this, but our phones are often on our person 24/7, which means they’re encountering many surfaces and substances, this leaves the potential for the cracked glass to carry something that could cause an infection should it come into contact with your cut finger or hand.
Further to this, The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified radiofrequency from phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. However, more investigation and research are still required before the extent of the health risk smartphones pose can be conclusively stated. Therefore, smartphones may already be giving off harmful radiation, so if the phone’s internal systems are exposed through cracks, there could be a greater risk of radiation exposure for its user.
So, if you, like me, are using a smartphone with a cracked screen (Which is dangerous) and have been for a while now, maybe it’s time to take it in for repairs or even treat yourself to a new phone.