The mobile phone has revolutionized modern life. It continues to do so as mobile phone technology grows by leaps and bounds. The modern phone has become much more than a phone. It serves as a GPS, an entertainment center, a digital camera, and the list goes on. The pros and cons of excessive mobile phone use are currently being studied and debated.
What is clear, however, is many people struggle with excessive attachment to their mobile phones. In some cases, this simply leads to rude and annoying behavior. In other cases, however, mobile phone addiction can lead to more dangerous consequences.
Mobile phone addiction is a serious problem in contemporary life. Research conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life project found that 51% of cell phone users in the United States would find it very difficult to give up their mobile phones. A 2011 University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & Public Affairs study focused on 1,000 mobile phone users between the ages of 17 to 23. The study found that a majority of the group displayed withdrawal symptoms such as depression and confusion when they were separated from their mobile phones.
Risks and Dangers of Mobile Phone Use
Studies and research are beginning to show some of the detrimental effects of excessive mobile phone use. Researchers are finding links between mental health issues and mobile phone use. Teenagers who spend inordinate amounts of time on their phones are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem. Excessive phone use can also cause physical problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, thumb strains, and increased vision problems.
Mobile phones can easily become breeding grounds for bacteria. Germs are spread through coughing, sneezing, and breathing and the phone is always close to our mouths. People often dial or text on the phone with unclean hands and fingers, and then place the phone next to their mouth.
Mobile phones are a contributing factor in hundreds of traffic accidents every year in the United States. Individual states are beginning to legislate laws that prohibit mobile phone use while driving. One sign of an addiction problem is a disregard for the law and other peoples’ safety.
Overcoming Mobile Phone Addiction
Addicts constantly need a fix. Mobile phone addicts tend to spend hours on the phone doing any number of things. The inability to walk away from the phone a few hours during the day may indicate a problem. If you feel a emotional release or sense of security when you pick up the phone, you may have a problem as well. Some of the symptoms of mobile phone addiction include:
(1) Excessive mobile phone bills
(2) A sense of panic when you are separated from your phone
(3) A constant need to check messages, restlessness or moodiness
(4) Problems at school or work
(5) Taking unnecessary risk with the phone such as texting or driving with the phone.
Tips For Overcoming Mobile Phone Addiction
Overcoming mobile phone addiction is similar to overcoming other types of addictive behavior. Here are a few basic tips:
(1) Determine how much time you spend with the phone. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to keep a journal that tracks your cell phone use. Figure our exactly how much time you spend talking, texting, and playing games.
(2) Gradually ween yourself from the phone. Make a conscious effort to limit the amount of time spent on the phone.
(3) Make a conscious effort to engage in other activities that do not involve a phone such as playing games, going to the movies, and hanging out with friends. Leave your phone or turn the ringer off.
(4) Talk to a therapist. If you find it impossible to limit your time with the phone, you may want to talk to a therapist.
Alan Davidson is a PhD student conducting a research on mobile phone addiction. He is also a freelance blogger and recommends that you read some of his publications on Afrodigit.com.