Mobile Phone Addiction and its Impacts

In today’s world of modern communication technology, mobile phone is a device to enable to remain united with the world. With advancement, smartphones equipped with Google’s Android, Apple’s IOS mobile operating system etc. have brought in integrated services of computing, voice communication, mobile based apps (Facebook, TikTok, YouTube), online purchasing and web browsing etc. Smartphones thus have become technology oriented companion for all age groups.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), addiction is considered as constant use of something for sake of relief, comfort or stimulation causing cravings in its absence. Substance addiction refers to drug addiction and behavioural addiction such as, mobile phone addiction.

Smartphone Global Usage – Demographic Profile

Statistics indicate that 92% are smartphone users while 89% users are on daily basis. There is significant increase in use of smartphones amongst adolescents (10-19 years age) who access Internet for entertainment purpose.  People within age group of 25-34 years are the highest users of smartphones (62%). Android smartphone users are almost 50% while Apple iPhone users are almost 43% who are younger than 34 years. Male users comprise of 53% while 47% are females. Reports have indicated that smartphone users have problems related to vocation and social life in developed countries.

Smartphone usage in Indian Context

Teenagers in India are currently the largest Smartphones users (16-18 years age). The usage has rapidly increased from 5% in 2012 to 25% in 2018, subsequently being predicted would rise to 36 % by 2022. Studies indicate that rate of rise of usage was over 90% in Urban India. In contemporary era, 95% of children have access to mobile phones and 73 % are users. Of these, 70% are in age group of 7-10 years while 76% fall in age group of 11-14 years.

Effects of Mobile phone Usage: – Physical and Psycho-Socio and Behavioural

  1. Physical Issues: – Mobile phone addiction is often known as ‘Nomophobia’. Constant use of mobile phone electromagnetic radiations have several adverse effects on health such as fatigue, headache, dizziness, tensions, insomnia, blindness, computer vision syndrome, obesity, back stiffness, nagging pain due to stoop neck, thumb tendon injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome. Studies have indicated continuous obsessive use of mobile phones gives rise to brain tumours, infertility, heart diseases, hearing problems, problems of the nervous system due to ill effects of the radio waves transmitted into the body system, thus leading to degradation of quality of life.
  2. Psycho Social and Behavioural Issues: – Smartphone addiction related with psychopathologies are ring anxiety, delinquency, aggressiveness, deviated sexual activity and cultural invasions which all stem from implacable mobile phone usage. Studies have indicated that almost 5% of online worldwide users have abnormal sexual behaviour resulting due to easy accessibility to pornography often provided through social networking. Mobile phone addiction thus has several adverse effects socially like wastage of time, money, violation of privacy, degrades work performance and creates increasing craving for use of high speed internet etc. This kind of behavioural addiction to mobile phones becomes habitual and makes addicts feel that they cannot remain without the phone for a single minute, giving it top priority to check updates, missed calls and notifications till they attain certain degree of satisfaction.

Gradually, mobile phone addiction leads to self isolation, lack of self confidence, lack of interpersonal skills and lack of socialization within the home and outside. In Japan, ‘Hikikomori’ refers to social withdrawal leading to extreme degree of isolation and confinement due to internet addiction and smartphones. Thus, we find that smartphones abuse has significant adverse physical and psycho-social impact not only in adolescents but also in higher age groups.

Managing Mobile Phone De-addiction

There are many ways to get rid of this addiction by: –

  1. Smartphone Management System Applications:- Comprehensive ICT such as ‘Smartphone Addiction Management System (SAMS)’ together with GPS and internet access location to track and monitor and intervention for management of mobile phone addicts, ‘MobiLock Kiosk Lockdown’ software may be utilized to control the use of mobile phones by enabling or disabling apps, website access and security settings from the web dashboard, use of useful apps like ‘Arogya Setu’, m-Health App during the current lockdown situation.
  2. Time Management: – Scheduling the time of scanning the phone for receiving and communicating messages. There needs to be self discipline created everyday by deliberately and regularly keeping the phone away from oneself in an area at a certain point of time without attending any calls.
  3. Deliberate Distancing: – Another way to do away with the addiction is to keep the device on silent mode so that it does not create any disturbance while socializing with family or friends. The internet connection may also be called off after a certain point of time so that sleep disruption may be avoided. All unnecessary social media apps (like, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp etc.), online / offline video games may be cut down to avoid disturbance and stress.
  4. Self Empowerment Activities :-Self disciplining exercises like spending time on Yoga Asanas, meditation, small walks in the fresh air and socializing with family and friends in person. The famous saying, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’ is the sole solution towards development of self commitment with self desire for enhancing self confidence to do away with the self addiction of mobile device over-powering the self determination to achieve self empowerment.

Conclusion

The sweeping wave of mobile phone use in the society has raised immense physical, social and psychological problems by excessive use from all walks of life. The abuse of mobile phones leads to addiction due to obsessive usage of various applications for self satisfaction. The mobile phone addiction can easily be done away be self determination and channelization of energy through self empowerment activities and disciplined use of the device.

References

  1. WHO. Management of substance use: Dependence Syndrome, 2014.
  2. “History”. Stockholm Smartphone, 2010.
  3. Sarwar M. Etal. Impact of Smartphone’s on society. Sci Res. 2013.
  4. Khan MM. Adverse effects of excessive mobile phones use, 2008.

Author: A.C.

Dr. Chakraborty is a researcher in electronics and has authored numerous articles in the domain. She is also an avid blogger and shares a penchant for domains like technology, business and science.

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