Knowledge Update

SMARTPHONES: THE NECESSARY EVIL

A traditional list of "basic needs" is food (including water), shelter and clothing. But in modern days one more thing got added to it called “smartphones”.

Then question comes if we are normally not addicted to these 3 basic things in life then how come we are addicted to smartphones and answer lies in appropriate use and overuse. So here the question which is to be discussed is what amount of use is right use and over and above this limit it becomes over use. Who will decide this benchmark of limit?

This limit is subjective in relation to the geography, age, gender, profession and many such socio-cultural and economic factors. This means that each individual has to decide a particular limit by himself about the quantum of use above which it can be called overuse.

Overuse is often defined as a "dependence syndrome", which is the term used by the World Health Organization (WHO Expert Committee, 1964) to replace addiction or habituation.

Now the next stage of overuse is dependence syndrome (addiction). Few people may argue that we may be overusing the smartphones but still we are not addicted to use it. We can identify that a person is suffering from dependence syndrome by few behavioral characteristics. These behaviors may include obsession with mobile communication, excessive money and or time spent on smartphones, use of smartphones in socially or physically unacceptable situations such as during meetings or driving a vehicle etc.

Such people show symptoms of anxiety if they forget the smart phones, or they are not with smartphone for long time or even in few cases they are depressed if smart phones are not near to their pillow while sleeping.
All these symptoms lead to adverse effects on relationships, overall social and psychological well-being and health. Excessive use of smartphones before bed can cause insomnia in some cases it also leads to injury to neck bone (cervical vertebrae).

There are many researches which are done on this subject and each one of them confirms that overuse of smartphone leads to the dependence syndrome. We have just seen few side effects of overuse of smartphones but even if we notice these symptoms we try not to correlate them with overuse of smartphones. So, the first requirement is awareness and acceptance of dependence syndrome because of overuse of the smart phones and then working on the same to overcome this.

There can be many ways to control the usage of smart phones and it should start with control of our usage pattern by controlling the behavior. We first need to understand that if there is any emergency, a person directly makes a call to us and will not message on social media. So, there is no need to check the social media which include WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, tweeter etc. We can keep a designated time to check the social media. Or we can make slots like every 4 hour or 5 hours we can check the social media. Same should be followed for online games also.

We need to work on this area and find out more solution for this through research. But for immediate action, we should control ourselves from using smartphones. The time saved will definitely be useful in nation building as many national hours which is getting wasted on social media can be diverted towards some constructive work. This is especially more important for today’s young generation.

But we cannot name smartphones as evil of society. Smartphones otherwise are most useful gadget and can help us to go a long way in having a bright future. Excess of any thing is bad and so the excessive use of smartphones is also not good for us.
The need of hour is to make smartphones an essential part of life but use should be limited for essential work only. Let’s not fall prey to the over use and then going in dependence syndrome which is making us lead lazy way of life. Let’s plan our day and our life in such a way that we would not have repentance later.

Each one of us should count number of hours we spend daily on smartphones and slowly we can try to reduce the usage. Targets can be kept to reduce the smart phone usage by 10 to 20% per month. Initially it would be difficult however over period of time we can definitely achieve this and then at that stage we can say that smartphones are essential and not an addictions any more.

REFERENCE
1. WHO. "Management of substance abuse: Dependence Syndrome".
2. Arnetz, Bengt B.; Hillert, Lena; Åkerstedt, Torbjörn; Lowden, Arne; Kuster, Niels; Ebert, Sven; Boutry, Clementine; Moffat, Scott D.; Berg, Mats; Wiholm, Clairy. "Effects from 884 MHz mobile phone radiofrequency on brain electrophysiology, sleep, cognition, and well-being", Referierte Publikationen, Chicago, 2008.

Dr. Irfan S. Inamdar is an Associate Professor in Management in Skyline University Nigeria. He has a PhD. in Business Management from Nagpur University, India.

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