Smartphone Addiction Is Becoming An Increasing Health Issue

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The exploded adoption of smartphones has revolutionised the telecom and communication industry. At one hand, smartphones are proving to be the productivity boosters, on the other hand, researchers are founding it a serious health hazard.

A recent study of young Australians researchers has revealed that Smartphone addiction has been the root cause that affects the productivity and well-being of the individual; physical and emotional. The study conducted at Deakin University of almost 400 undergraduate students give away a series of revelations:

  • One-third couldn’t resist the urge of checking their phones once in a while and had pangs of anxiety when unable to do so.
  • While 34% tend to lose sleep, 40% felt disoriented without a smartphone.
  • More than half of the students stuck to their smartphones while doing other things.
  • The study ascertains that there’s mindless checking of phones out of habit rather than need.
  • Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is one such theory, uncovered which shows people relying on their phones as they feel the need to constantly stay connected via social media.

The research that was led by Dr. Sharon Horwood indicates the wry reality wherein a device meant for the benefit of people, is slowly turning into a public health issue. With impacts that adversely affect the productivity, daily functioning and health of an individual, smartphones are becoming an antihero.

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Smartphone Addiction: Important Than Deodorant and Toothbrush

The worldwide smartphone penetration is estimated to an all-time high. 2 out of 3 individuals in 52 major countries own a smartphone now. A survey in the year 2016 which conducted by the Bank of America revealed that about 96% of the millennial consider that smartphones are crucial for them. For about 93%, smartphones are more important than deodorant and toothbrush. The survey also revealed that an individual checks his/her smartphone every 6.5 minutes.

According to another survey by Deloitte, smartphone users in the US look at their phone 47 times a day. The most surprising is the smartphone usage by the youngest group, aged between 18 and 24 years, who look at their phone 86 times in a day, up from 82 times in 2016.

Smartphone Addiction Impact Hits Global Health

The Australian study reveals that smartphones have a far-ranging span of problems. Starting from abuse to affecting work and home life, this has been driving our life and actually changing social relationships.

As per another report, the number of smartphone users worldwide is estimated to grow to 2.9 billion by the end of 2020. Again, the smartphone penetration rates increasing as well. Countries such as the United Kingdom has already declared themselves a “Smartphone addicted” country. As a matter of fact, about 60% of UK teens accept that they are highly addicted to their Smartphone’s. In South Korea, the smartphone addiction rate among teenagers is 18%.

Share of Indian Population Affected by Smartphone

Reports by The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) claims that exposure to radiation from smartphones cause adverse health effects. World Health Organization (WHO) certify those earlier claim and further classify the radio frequency electromagnetic radiations emitted from the wireless phone under group 2 B-carcinogen category. Although not much evident from instances, it’s still believed that electromagnetic radiations emitted from a mobile phone may lead to cancer, mental imbalance, dementia, headache and can even damage DNAs.

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The constant debacle on addiction and abuse of Smartphone among adolescents in the Indian population is prevalent. As per PRISMA (2009) guidelines, the meta-analysis on only Indian studies was done using Med-Calc online software and it was revealed that a total of 45 articles were considered to get an idea of the context on global strata. Getting deeper revealed that 6 studies out of these 45 related to Smartphone’s addiction in India were extracted to perform a meta-analysis, in which total 1304 participants were enrolled. As per fixed effects calculated (P < 0.0001), the smartphone addiction magnitude in India ranged from 39% to 44%. Smartphone addiction among Indian teens not only damages interpersonal skills, but it also leads to significant health risks.

Smartphone & Health Value

According to Dr Horwood, personality traits influence the way individuals try to relate to technology. While individuals high in neuroticism tend to rely on their smartphones to obtain social and emotional reassurance from relationships, conscientious people delay short-term gratification in order to achieve long-term goals.

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