Time check, its 10:35 am and we are half way through Sunday Service at Christ The King Church Kampala and the Priest tells us to offer each other a sign of peace. This part of holy mass requires shaking your neighbors hands so I reach out to my neighbour to the left and he is clearly in a deep text conversation on his phone, i then turn to the right and the lady looks like she is in her final stage of candy crush, a popular mobile phone game. This left me in a stance wondering how did we as a people get to this point where we are completely consumed by our smart phones?
The official name for smartphone addiction is Nomophobia which is defined as having a fear of not being with your phone. Cell phones have been around for years though, so why the sudden increase in personal dependence? Well quite simply, its defined by the nature of the content on the device, we’re talking internet, social networks, apps, video, music and so on.. According to data from Statistica the number of smartphone users worldwide today surpasses three billion and is forecast to further grow by several hundred million in the next few years.
The continuous development of apps and tools that are able to perform tasks that humans have performed for years has easened work but also taken away the social aspect we so much lived on. Students spend most of the time during their classes on phones, kids can’t have a lengthy conversation with their parents without stealing a few minutes to check out an app or two, relationships have gotten stringent because couples spend most of the time on their phones than actually dealing with issues or talking through them. There are plenty of scenarios that can be pieced together, and they all indicate smart phones are robbing us of our lives!
Social media app usage has increased tremendously over the years with a 4 billion usage worldwide projected to double over the next year. Tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest have formed a monopoly in the tech space buying out most apps and creating a community with all apps they own, meaning data from one app is used to create patterns of communication in other apps like Facebook & Instagram.
Map Showing Popular Social Messenger App by country.
Dangers Of Smart Phone Dependency
- Anxiety – Simply having your phone near you will decrease your productivity, the impact snowballs with the level of the users’ addiction.
- Stress – Higher stress levels were found in business orientated roles where work life is connected to the personas device e.g. emails
- Narcissism – People on their phones who get addicted to social media will begin to display self-absorption traits derived from posting constantly about their life or selfies.
- Depression and loneliness – mainly stemming from people on their phones with high social media use (higher numbers in teens).
- Attention deficit disorder – The flow of information can impact the brains’ ability to stay focused on one task for more than a couple of minutes
- Sleep deprivation – Impacting your sleep can have long-term mental health, memory and learning skills.
Below is a video on how you can break your cell phone addiction.