By Ishfaq Ahmad Chopan
Few weeks back one of the mother of a secondary school student called me story of his son. She explained a drastic change of behaviour in his son. She said her son used be cool and calm. She said he used to be enough gentle, smart and cooperative both at home affairs and school homework. She mentioned to me that they haven’t any exposure to education and last year one day we learnt that he required a smartphone to get access to school online assignments in view globally bursted pandemic Covid-19 and his father who is a labour by profession ensured it to him from his hard earned money. After months we noticed a major change in his life style. Now he often feels mentally absent when we communicate to him. We don’t understand now why he always runs short of time. She says now one feels that he doesn’t listen with proper concentration when you talk to him. He doesn’t feel things enough. Yes he too is a teenager like all of his friends who got accidental opportunity to own smartphones. She say’s we don’t know what is mobile phone actually used for else than calling. They really haven’t any idea about vast world of social media or any smartphone game. She says now we just know that he is often busy on his phone. I have been listening to some of the similar stories quite some time.
Let’s track and discuss this addiction and accompanied effects of mobile phones among the users of all age groups. Though teenagers who are mostly students have become most addict. But it be would quite unjustified to propose in today’s world only children and youngsters are addicted to smartphones. Rather mostly the addiction of mobile phone among children is an imitation of them from the elders.
Though there has been an excessive and some unnecessary use of mobile phones over the years. But as the technology developed the latest emerged wide features have been an attractive source to stay connected to phones. The features like e-commerce, e-banking, online teaching and learning, online games and multiple social media platforms are connecting users and letting them busy and online for hours.
What came most of a sudden is the Covid-19. Though pandemic distanced people socially but connected and closed people digitally. The hike in usage of phones due to Caranovirus pandemic could be realised from the following figures by Vivo and CMR survey.
The Vivo and CMR study titled “smartphone and impact on human relationship 2020” evaluates areas of different increasing use of smartphones. The survey which was conducted online in 8 states of India with 2000 respondents reports a major hike in daily per hour usage from 4.5 hours in 2019 to 7 hours in 2020 among the responding users. It was observed Indians spend more time on online games and social media. Study also revealed 66% of user think that smartphones improved their quality of life while 70% of the users feel if their smartphone usage continues to increase it is likely to impact their mental and physical health. It was observed 84% of the users check their phones only within 15 minutes of waking up. A massive 25% increase in average daily time spent on the smartphone was seen by survey among the responding users in the post Covid era.
All in all smartphone addiction has emerged as a serious concern for the people of all age groups. Not just wastage of time it has by and large effected our social and cultural values. We have reached to a state where if we found a drowning man in flood we will prefer to shoot a video to him rather than finding a possible way to get him out of tragedy. According to the economic times “Although smartphones have given flexibility to people it’s excessive usage has led to addiction among the users and that is inturn impacting human relationships and behavior”.
Of course smartphones have become integral part in our lives but these have a set of undesirable carried serious impacts. Some of them are mentioned below.
Research shows smartphones adversely affect our cognition. Cognition is the process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience and the senses.
When you spend most of your time on screen. Obliviously you are left with a very short time to interact with society to manage social life. This weaks your relationships and effects mental health at a community level.
When you are being given a typical problem or puzzle to solve. When you are being given a data to remember or figures to calculate, smartphones become a way out. In this way you become lazy.
Failure and weak academic performance by many students is also a product of excessive use of smartphones. Lot of students experience lack of attention and time for their studies due to smartphone addiction.
As per a research blue light emitted by smartphones accelerate blindness by damaging retina. Blue light can cause molecular degeneration one of the leading causes of blindness.
In this way a smartphone is a double sided sword. An exceptionally brilliant, useful, helpful and powerful blessing of technology to human kind. Using it in a proper manner is in the interest and wellbeing of mankind and any irregular use can largely disrupt social structure and damage our physique.
Ishfaq Ahmad Chopan is a post graduate from Central University of Kashmir.