SMARTPHONE ADDICTION AMONG STUDENTS
20 July, 2022 (Consolace Counselling Services)
ARE STUDENTS ADDICTED TO PHONES?
Head down, eyes glued, fingers scrolling, mouth hardly opened to say 'Hello'! Rahul, my friend's son, responded to my Hello quite mechanically without even looking at me once. I wonder if he even knew who came to his home and whom he was saying hello to! He was so lost in his mobile phone that I could see in his eyes that he had no idea about who I was, nor did he have any idea about where he was sitting at that very moment. It was just him and his smartphone. Sadly, we can find many Rahul(s) in today's world. After all, we live in a world run by technology.
I will not deny the fact that smartphones are indeed an important invention of science but a boon can soon turn into a curse depending on how it is used. As we say in Sanskrit, "Ati sarvatra varjayet" which means excess of anything is bad. The excessive use of smartphones, especially among students, is a serious concern in today's time. Take a look at this case where a 16 year old boy shot his mother dead as she scolded him over his PUBG addiction (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newindianexpress.com/lifestyle/health/2022/jun/12/spotlight-on-mental-health-after-teen-kills-mother-who-rebuked-him-for-pubg-addiction-2464746.amp)
. Imagine the kind of impact left on people's minds as a result of mobile phone addiction that a person can take such an extreme step. The use of smartphones has tremendously increased among students after the pandemic. Since it has become an inevitable part of students' academic life, parents cannot even stop their kids from using it. The problem isn't with its use but the way it is used that is uncontrolled and limitless.
In another shocking case, a plus one student ended her life over mobile phone addiction in Thiruvananthapuram (https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/plus-one-student-ends-life-over-mobile-phone-addiction-in-thiruvananthapuram-jeeva-mohan-suicide-1.7579567)
. According to her suicide note, she had become a slave of her mobile phone. She knew that she had to get over it but she found her helpless. Being a meritorious student, it might have been difficult for her to see her grades falling and being helpless. Otherwise, how could a 16 year old girl take such an extreme step. It is really disappointing and at the same time disheartening to see that parental care and involvement has vanished somewhere in today's world. Everyone is so busy that smartphones have taken over the missing places. No one feels alone when they have their mobile phone with them. Humans no more need the company of another human to fight loneliness.
As far as students are concerned, here are a few reasons why they are getting addicted to mobile phones.
Causes of Smartphone Addiction Among Students:
● Availability and ease of access: Every student owns a smartphone these days. The numbers tremendously increased after the pandemic. You may have seen people collecting funds to buy smartphones to underprivileged students in their locality during the lockdown. I am sure this was done with a good intention so that no one is denied the privilege of education. We did make smartphones available to students but how many of us actually takes a moment to analyze how the children in our own homes use their phone. Are they all using it wisely and effectively? If it was so, the above-mentioned incidents wouldn't have been reported.
● Internet availability: The day the internet became cheaper and available to all, people could not imagine a day without their smartphones. It is where the addiction starts. Without proper monitoring, it becomes really difficult to analyse what the teenagers are doing and seeing on the internet. Some busy parents also have zero knowledge about the impact of smartphones on their kid's life.
● Over social media usage:
Teenage is a very crucial age where we see hormonal changes and as a result, behavioral changes in children. It is the time when parents need to pay maximum attention to their kids. Since smartphones are made handy and the internet is always available, some students are seen more on social media than on online classes. Since most of the academic information and study notes are exchanged through whatsapp messages, parents cannot even complain about their kids spending hours on whatsapp. This reminded me of a recent incident that took place in Kannur. Here, a class 5 student skipped her school to meet a 16 year old boy who came all the way from Trivandrum. Both of them were later found in a theatre in Kannur. On investigation it was revealed that both of them met on Instagram. (https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/class-5-girl-skips-school-found-inside-theatre-with-16-year-old-boy-she-met-through-instagram-1.7668626).
This is what smartphones are doing to young kids. Look at their age! They are way too young to indulge in such activities.
Parents should therefore have an idea about their children's online and offline activities.
● Mobile video games: Students are getting so addicted to mobile video games like PUBG, candy crush, crash of clans, PES etc that they have lost track of their time and place. This of course affects their academic performance but also violent games like PUBG can bring behavioral changes in players. There are also some trending gambling mobile games like Dream11, Rummy etc that contain a good load of financial risk. Students sometimes become so addicted that they use their parents' money to play and lose everything. In most of the cases, parents are unaware of their kid's gaming addiction.
● Escapism: In many cases where parents are too busy to be physically and emotionally available, children find mobile phones as a source to escape from their real life. Virtual world starts offering them some kind of solace which they could not find in real life. Hence, begins the chapter of mobile phone addiction in such children.
These are just a few out of the numerous causes of smartphone addiction among students. Also, when we discuss the causes of smartphone addiction in students, we cannot deny the fact that somewhere these little gadgets offer them the company, fun, entertainment and joy that they expect to find in the real world from real humans but unfortunately fail to get. Addiction may come in any way and any
What Needs to be Done?
The rising mobile addiction among students is indeed a serious cause of concern. It needs to be tackled effectively in a healthy way. Here are a few quick tips to reduce smartphone addiction in students.
Tips to Reduce Smartphone Addiction in Students:
● Monitor the usage: Try to gain an idea about your kids' online activities.
● Communicate and correct: Talk to your kids. Build an understanding, support them when they are on the right path and correct them when they take a wrong route.
● Engage them in activities, boost their hobbies and encourage outdoor games: I hardly see any kids playing outside these days. That's indeed a sad scene!
● Mental Health matters!: Do not take your child's mental health lightly. Be quick in recognizing the symptoms and quicker in taking action. Also the children themselves should not hesitate in sharing their mental discomfort with their parents.
● Seek assistance: There are times where both the child and the parent become helpless. In such situations, seek immediate help from a professional counselor.
It is not easy to raise a child, it is more difficult to lose one. Do not repeat the mistakes that others have committed. Be alert and give proper time and attention to your children. Students should also be extra careful and should know when their mobile usage is turning into an addiction. You have only one life, do not live it the wrong way. For further guidance and support contact Consolace Counselling Services, Trivandrum.