Loneliness and isolation are just two side effects of constant smartphone usage

12:39 pm Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Social Health Community

Take a social media holiday and keep phones away unless absolutely needed

New Delhi, 11th June 2018: Overuse of smartphones is akin to substance abuse and addiction, as per a recent study. People who use phones a lot seem to suffer from increased levels of feeling isolated, lonely, depressed and anxious. People who are extreme smartphone users constantly switch between activities and find it hard to focus. There is a need to create awareness that such an addiction can leave us with little time to relax and rejuvenate, particularly mentally.

Addiction to social media technology can have a negative effect on social connections. The accompanying loneliness is partly a consequence of replacing face-to-face interaction with a form of communication where body language and other signals cannot be interpreted.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Push notifications, vibrations, and other alerts on our phones and computers make us feel compelled to look at them constantly. This, as per research, seems to trigger the same kind of neural pathways as during an imminent attack by a predator or in the face of some danger. This further means that our brain is constantly active and alert, albeit in a way that is not healthy for its functioning. We constantly seek that activity, and in the absence of it feel restless, agitated and lonely. There are certain other side effects of constant smartphone use. Ringxiety is the anxiety resulting due to not receiving a call in the last 30 minutes. It is present in the 30% of the mobile users. Phantom ringing is present in 20% to 30% of mobile users. You can feel that your phone is ringing but when you check, it is not.”

Smartphone is also a cause for parent-child conflict in 30% of the cases. Often children get up late and end up going to school unprepared. On an average, people spend 30 to 60 minutes in the bed playing with the smart phone before sleep.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Having access to so many different streams of information through gadgets has been found to decrease the brain’s grey matter density, which is responsible for cognition and emotional control. In this digital era, the key to good health should be moderation i.e. moderate use of technology. Most of us have become slaves to devices that were really meant to free us and give us more time to experience life and be with people. And we are leading our children in the same path as well.”

Some tips from HCFI
• Electronic curfew means not using any electronic gadgets 30 minutes before sleep.
• Facebook holiday: Take a Facebook holiday for 7 days every three months.
• Social media fast: Avoid use of social media once in a week for the entire day.
• Use your mobile phone only when mobile.
• Do not use computer for more than three hours in a day.
• Limit your mobile talk time to more than two hours in a day.
• Do not recharge your mobile battery more than once in a day.
• Mobile can also be a source of infection in the hospital setup; therefore, it is disinfected every day.

Comments are closed.