SMART PHONE ADDICTION: AN EMERGING SOCIAL ISSUE IN INDIA & IT’S IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH
India is presently in middle of a Digital Revolution. Large numbers of Indian access internet through smart phones. . By 2021, there are likely to be more than one Billion smart phones users in India out of which most of them are expected to be using the social media through smart phones.
(a) Nearly 70% of the people having smart phones check their phones in morning within 01 hour of getting up & nearly 66% check their phone before going to bed. The average time spent by smart phone users is as under :-
(b) A recently concluded Research project – “Smartphone Dependency & Purchase Behavior: Implications for Digital India Initiatives” by Aligarh Muslim University says that :-
(i) College students check their smart phones about 150 times a day (average) & spend about 4-7 hrs on their phones daily. [14% students spend – 3 hrs or less, 63% students spend – 4 to 7 hrs & 23% students spend – more than 8 hrs daily].
(ii) Only 26% people are using phones for calling purposes.
(iii) Researchers recommend daily usage limit at 2 hrs a day.
(c) However, the quantum of time spent by an average Indian is definitely much more than the recommended usage and there are so many who cannot do away without their smart phones.
(d) Symptoms of Smartphone Addiction. These symptoms could be :-
(i) Inability to cut back on phone usage.
(ii) Using phone as solution to boredom.
(iii) Feeling anxious / upset without phone.
(iv) Phone usage affecting relationships / professional output.
(v) Use of phone when socially / physically inappropriate.
(e) Psychological Effects of Smartphone Addiction. These are :-
(i) Overuse could be symptoms of depression.
(ii) Anxiety Disorders / stress.
(iii) Trouble sleeping / sleep disturbances.
(iv) Social Problems & Relationship issues.
(v) FOMO– Fear of Missing Out Phobia.
(vi) Dependence Syndrome.
(vii) Phantom Pocket Vibration Syndrome.
(ix) Reduced Productivity & Attention Span.
(f) Solution to Overcome Smartphone Addiction.
(i) Curb phone usage. Lay down timings. Ensure usage not more than 2 hours in a day.
(ii) Don’t compromise on sleep. Sleep is of great importance for a healthy lifestyle / good mental health.
(iii) Exercising and meditating can strengthen your muscles, boost a positive mood & keep you away from the smart phone.
(iv) Put down your phone when with others.
(v) Shift focus to in – person interaction.
(vi) Find other ways to overcome boredom.
(vii) Awareness among children, youth and everyone about the responsible use of smart phones.
(viii) Seek professional help.
The time spent by Indians on smart phone is steadily increasing. There are so many of us who cannot sustain without our phones even for a hour. Many of us have become smart phone addicts without even realizing it. By sheer numbers, smart phone Addiction is become an emerging social issue. However, awareness of smart phone addiction, responsible usage of smart phone and seeking solutions to keep ourselves from the trap of smart phone addiction can keep this emerging social issue under check.