Your phone may be beeping and buzzing throughout the day to catch your attention. When you eat, you may place your smartphone on the dining table, so that a ring or a text message would send you in response mode. That is one of the main smartphone negative effects.
When you sleep, you put your phone by your bedside, so that you can check it the first thing you wake up in the morning. When you drive, you plug an earpiece into your ear so that you can speak on the phone without causing a driving hazard. Sometimes however, you may be so engrossed with chatting or texting on the phone that you do so despite posing as a traffic hazard.
Yet, despite your seeming preoccupation with your smartphone, you reason out that being busy on your phone enables you to be connected and contactable all day and in all places.
However, does smartphone usage really make you more productive? What are the potential smartphone negative effects of using or over-relying on your smartphone? We explore these issues here below.
Studies by Éilish Duke (2017) titled, “Smartphone addiction, daily interruptions and self-reported productivity,” explores the ways in which smartphones disrupt people’s concentration when performing tasks. The research revealed that smartphones could distract people from attaining a state of flow , defined as “a state in which we are fully absorbed by an activity, forgetting about space and time, whilst being very productive.” Duke cites an example, when a person in a state of flow can finish a task, like writing a considerable part of a document, without paying attention to his or her surroundings or without even being fully aware of how time passes.
Moreover, Duke states that the ability to attain flow necessitates unbroken concentration of at least a couple of minutes, and the sustenance of a flow necessitates concentrated and undisrupted attention on one particular project or task. Duke elaborates that studies have shown that even disruptions as short as 2.8 seconds can disrupt the flow of concentration. The disrupted concentration can result in increased errors when performing a particular task. Therefore, smartphones that constantly demand attention due to their notifications and ringing obstruct the flow of concentration, hence reducing productivity. Users are promoted to check smartphones regularly, and thus are distracted from participating in productive activities.
While handing mobile phones over to children can occupy them and keep them silent for periods of time, this method can adversely impact children. Children can be excessively addicted to mobile screens for hours at a time, interfering with their interactions with parents as well as other people around them. Based on comments from Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, development problems arise when parents and children do not interact enough.
Additionally, internet access on cell phones makes children vulnerable to inappropriate content and behaviors. Children can gain access to sites depicting age inappropriate content without the knowledge of their parents. As a result, children can absorb negative behaviour and can even engage in self-harm.
Furthermore, research has proven that teenagers who are addicted to smartphone usage are more at risk of depression and anxiety. Cell phone usage in class can interfere with learning as students who use smartphones in class generally remember less information from their lessons and tend to perform poorly in tests .
The Journal of Community Medicine and Health Education published a study that reinforced the negative effects of excessive smartphone usage among students. The researchers revealed that an overuse of smartphones results in headache, irritability, and anger among students. Additional prevalent consequences of smartphone overuse entailed eye strain, anxiety, insomnia and body aches .
Several studies have highlighted that smartphone usage results in a heightened susceptibility to cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) even categorised radiation from smartphones as possibly carcinogenic.
Also, smartphone usage can result in alterations in sleep patterns. Insomnia can result due to smartphone usage or addiction. Spending time on mobile screens has been linked to a shorter sleep duration and poor quality sleep . With a lack of sleep, people experience a greater risk of depression, diabetes and heart attack. Regularly checking internet sites like social media ones can lead to a loss of confidence and self-esteem.
Not only does smartphone addiction result in poor health, it can directly lead to fatal accidents. For instance, drivers who are constantly replying to their smartphone texts when driving compromise their ability to drive safely, increasing the risks of major accidents that may be fatal.
All in all, dealing with smartphone addiction does not mean you have to completely ditch your smartphone. After all, we live in a time when we have to be connected with those around us. Rather, adopt a disciplined attitude to using your smartphone. While keeping your smartphone accessible, keep it out of sight to curb your addiction to check your phone constantly. By taking slow and steady steps to combating smartphone addiction, you can mitigate the negative effects of smartphones and live a better quality life with your family and friends.
 “How your cell phone habits impact your productivity,” Psychology Today. [Online]. Available: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/why-bad-looks-good/201807/how-your-cell-phone-habits-impact-your-productivity. [Accessed: 29-Aug-2022].
 John, D. thakkar, M. Marvin, Emma-Joy, and S. Prasad, “7 negative effects of mobile phones on society,” Addiction Tips, 22-May-2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.addictiontips.net/phone-addiction/negative-effects-of-mobile-phones-on-society/. [Accessed: 29-Aug-2022].
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