I usually take a bus. Once I came across to a group of students who were on an excursion with their teacher. The bus was full of school children using their smartphones. Well, actually the scenery is not surprising as it happens most of the time. One may think that this kind of harmless interest to smartphones may not hurt anyone. However, a frequent use of smartphones can cause smartphone addictions, especially school children who are easily attracted and influenced by new gadgets. As a consequence, it probably triggers some detrimental addictions like gambling and information overload that might negatively affect them mentally. What is more, some scientific terms, that describe certain cases, exist related to this “smartphone issue”.
Above all, let’s define what smartphone addiction means. According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health (2013), addiction is a brain disease that is insistent to an irresistible desire to participate in activities, despite the harmful consequences. Therefore, smartphone addiction can be construed as a tempting impulse of overusing Internet, games or apps that have its negative side effects on people using it. By the way, how would you feel if you had forgotten your phone at home, left or lost it somewhere? Note that there is a scientific name for this kind of fear you might experience. The site “Technopedia” explains that “a fear exhibited in a human being when their cell phone is unable to perform the most basic of communication functionality that it is designed to provide is named as “nomophobia”. However, the other side of the coin has something to say. Remember any friend who is addicted to his or her phone. What is he/she doing? Is he or she constantly playing or surfing the Web? Your friend is just taking no notice of you! This kind of practice of ignoring someone’s company in order to pay attention to one’s cell phone or other devices is named as phubbing (The Washington post). So, who are you? Are you phubbing or pubbed? Or have you ever felt fear of losing your phone?
As previously mentioned, smartphone addiction can be expressed in various forms. Gambling addiction is one of the widespread and well-documented problems, the availability of Internet made it even more accessible. Some Japanese researchers disclosed that smartphone-addicted children don’t make friends with those who use it less (as cited in Dollahite & Haun, 2012). It seems that gambling is a disease of digital age. According to Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, 80% of surveyed teenagers between 12-17 years say that they have gambled in the last 12 months. Whereas, 35% of them gamble at least once a week. Thus, students’ smartphone addiction can give rise to social, mental and academic problems as lowliness, depression and low academic performance at school.
Some students may say that they are not inclined to any sort of gambling as playing online games or so on. That definitely cannot be disclaimed. But, don’t they use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or any other social media to post their photos and videos or check one’s messenger every hour. Isn’t it an addiction, then? Inveterate surfing the Internet, reviewing news, blogs, feeds can be responsible for the students’ low attentiveness which may lead to low academic achievements. The consequences of these kinds of overloaded information may be as harmful as it is. For instance, isolation, loss of real-world relationships, social life and hobbies, or even worth mental disorders.
Obviously, we cannot deny the importance of smartphones in our life. All those countless benefits it has in education and in other domains. However, an overuse of smartphones can negatively affect like medicine which can be a remedy or vice-versa. So, do you, (your children or students) lose track of time when using your (their) phone? If you answered “Yes”, then maybe it’s a right time to revise your attitudes towards smartphone use and its role in order to prevent lamentable consequences. And what would you do if one of your students unconsciously kept using his or her smartphones most of the time?
Birdwell, A. F. (2012). Technology and the Mind. In N. E. Dollahite & J. Haun (Eds.), Source work: Academic Writing from Sources (195). Location: Sherrise Roehr.
Nomophobia. Definition. Retrieved from https://www.techopedia.com/definition/28392/nomophobia
Sternberg, B. S., Willingham, E. J., Asenjo, B., Wells, K. R., Alic, M., & Nienstedt, A. (2013). Addiction. In Gale (Ed.), The Gale encyclopedia of public health. Farmington, MI: Gale. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.nu.edu.kz:2359/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/galegph/addiction/0?institutionId=7630
Smith, M.A., Robinson, L., & Segal, J. (December 2017). Smartphone Addiction.
Trusted guide to mental & emotional health. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/smartphone-addiction.htm
Seppälä, E. (13 October 2017). Are you ‘phubbing’ right now? What it is and why science says it’s bad for your relationships. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/10/13/are-you-phubbing-right-now-what-it-is-and-why-science-says-its-bad-for-your-relationships/?utm_term=.8833359a9007