Communication has never been so easy in this era of gadgets and smartphones. Irrespective of age and generation, smartphone has become a very important communicative gadget for all people. With just a touch of a button, one remains connected with friends, families and millions of people all around the world. Not only does smartphone help us to stay connected with our loved ones, one can also do everything seamlessly from booking airline tickets to hotel rooms, cabs to railway tickets, ordering food online to shopping, capturing memories with the cameras and the list goes on. Smartphones have now become an essential part of our lives. The impact of smartphones can be seen in many spheres of life; be it in education, marketing, health care, industrial sectors, social life and so on. As of 2022, India ranks second in the most smartphone users with around 659 million users after China. The usage of smartphone and the things we can do through it is limitless but it is also worth mentioning that every technological invention has its pros and cons and hence we must question ourselves - What is the impact of smartphone in our lives? Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our lives, a gadget used by all age groups especially post the pandemic. In fact, it has dominated the very purpose of human existence. One feels incomplete without a smartphone. In this article, let us try to examine and understand the negative impact of using mobile phones on a daily basis.
Addiction to phone is called ‘Nomophobia’ or NO MObile PHOne phoBIA is the fear of being detached from mobile phone connectivity or the fear or anxiety caused by not having a phone. Therefore, Nomophobia is not just spending longer duration of time on mobile phones but it is also the fear of not having one. According to a recent joint survey conducted by mobile phone maker Oppo and market research firm Counterpoint, three out of four people in India have Nomophobia. Like any other form of addiction, the survey reported that 65 per cent of smartphone users experience emotional discomfort, anxiety, depression, disconnected, helpless, nervous and unsafe when phone battery drains. Nomophobia not only causes mental problems but it also results in many other health complications like Eye strain, Neck and back pain, Hypertension, etc. Hence, proper care should be made to control these symptoms at an early stage.
Wastage of time
There is no harm in using smartphones for entertainment/leisure purpose like watching videos, media contents, scrolling social media or gaming. But the problem begins when entertainment becomes an addiction. We have all heard the saying ‘Time is precious’, however, a study from global app intelligence firm AppAnnie shows that the average hours spent on a mobile per day was 4.7 hours in 2021 which is about 32.9 hours a week. Which means in a week an average person spends a day and a quarter on his smartphone. This is just the figure of an average person. Now imagine the number of hours a person spends in his addiction for gaming or watching videos or the time spent on social media. Is it really worth the time spend/invested on the smartphone? In what way has it benefited you?
We begin our day right before we get out of bed by checking notifications, watching news feeds, updates on social media, sharing posts etc. and the day goes by checking for updates and notifications and we end our day comparatively doing the same thing.
Another study says that smartphones notifications can impair our concentration. Since smartphones have become a part of our lives, relying too much on our smartphones affects our ability to focus, thereby decreasing our performance in a given task. For instance when working on a given task, when we hear notifications from our smartphones we get distracted and lose our focus on the given task because of our curiosity in wanting to check the notifications. This can be applicable to every areas starting from household chores to workplace, from studies to meetings, personal relationships to social gatherings which can impair our ability to focus. Moreover, smartphone notifications can be very dangerous in situations like driving where a single notification or call can lead to serious accidents.
Detachment from Social life
Another serious impact of smartphone is detachment from social life. From keyboard warriors to reel makers to memers, people are getting more disconnected from the real world. We hardly see people having a deep conversation in public places without having to check their phones every once a while for notifications, sending messages or sharing a message, clicking pictures and uploading it on social media. Now social gatherings are more like a platform for the teenagers to create a content for social media rather than social interaction. Everyday we come across a ‘smombie’ or ‘mobile zombie’ walking down the street slowly with their eyes and fingers glued on their smartphone bumping into people and things disregarding their road safety. It is becoming very rare to see people coming together for healthy and educative conversation in any kind of gathering, meeting, events or public places. Instead very often, such gatherings end upwith people busy with their smartphones, checking notifications, sending messages, sharing and making videos and pictures.
These are just some of the common effect of smartphones that have greatly affected our normal ways of living. Indeed smartphones have brought tremendous change in the lifestyle of people with countless features, services and apps available in various platforms making our lives more easier, comfortable and enjoyable. There is no denying of the fact that smartphones have greatly impacted every aspects of ours lives and one cannot imagine getting done our day to day activities without this great invention. Smartphones have really changed our norms and behaviors. Despite the manifold advantages of smartphones in our daily lives we cannot ignore the negative impacts of smartphones when not used judiciously. Looking at the present scenario, it is not just the teenagers but even adults and parents are addicted to smartphones. Thus, we need to educate ourselves and the users on how to control and minimize the usage of smartphones smartly. To acquire a smartphone has become a necessity in the present time. Thus, we cannot do away with it but remain cautious of the harmful and negative impact of the device that was meant to serve as a boon for human communication and networking. The first step would be by reducing the time spent on our phone and stop relying on our phones for every small task. Men as a social being by creation, should come out of the virtual world of technology and focus on the real world, be human and sociable rather than turning ourselves into nomophobia and smombies.
The writer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, St Joseph’s College (A), Jakhama