Phone addiction unavoidable, say Abuja residents

Internet smartphone addict

Phone addiction has become unavoidable in the contemporary times, some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja have said.

Respondents told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday that this was due to the necessary tools for living and socialisation is constantly being updated on phones.

Phone addiction is described by Wikipedia as “a dependence syndrome seen among certain mobile phone users”.

Researchers on the subject agreed that phone addicts exhibit problematic behaviours that are similar to those of substance abusers.

Respondents who spoke to NAN said they had at various points felt addicted to their smartphones abnormally as they were very dependable on these phones.

Some of them argued that the lifestyle was due to the fact that phones nowadays contained almost everything one needed, decreasing the need for face to face communication.

They listed taxi-hailing applications, e-commerce, infusion of board games as software and social media as smartphone allowances that increase addiction.

Also, lifestyle, living tips and recreational materials constantly available on the internet, instant messaging and free calling applications were listed as reasons why phones are indispensable to them.

Other respondents, especially students and workers, explained that phones had become an integral part of their jobs or schooling, hence making addiction inevitable.

Mr Tochukwu Uba, a journalist told NAN that “I feel like a part of my body is missing whenever I am not with my phone, a smartphone is an indispensable tool for my profession’’.

“Phone addiction is gradually becoming a valid lifestyle for most of the world’s population. You can’t imagine how empty I feel each time I am not with my phone.

“My job as a journalist makes it even worse as my phone is the centre of my job. Instead of carrying a midget and camera, I just get a good smartphone.

“I have to constantly follow up on current events and before you know it, it is a routine, I cannot do without. It is totally unavoidable,” Uba said.

Similarly, Miss Bolutife Adeolu, a student said that phone addiction was a norm in the society presently, adding that she did not realise she was addicted until the interview.

“To be honest, it is now that you have asked me that I am reviewing my phone use. I just can’t do without my phone.

“And I feel funny considering how I could fling my phone about before I entered the university.

“You know, these things creep on you. It starts with being an education aiding device, then to campus social symbol and all of a sudden, you cannot even read text on paper.

“Everything suddenly has to be on your phone. I check my phone in the morning before prayers and even when I am with people. The school environment doesn’t help,” Adeolu said.

Also, Mrs Angela Fapson, a businesswoman told NAN that she could not do without her phone as it helped to grow her business.

“I know where my business was before I started using a smartphone and I know the growth I experience since I upgraded.

“My family is complaining that I am spending a lot of time on phone but that’s where am making my money. I have to keep up with business trends, send my mails and chat with customers,” Fapson said.

She explained that phones were the centre of almost everything and it had become hard to do without them because of their usefulness.

However, software developer, Mr Daniel Omogbai debunked the general opinion that phone addiction had increased because various life tools were in phones.

According to him, a reverse is the case as various tools are now made into software because everybody is on his or her phones all day.

Omogbai said; “Nowadays, any business that is not technologically-based will flop because if you can’t structure it after popular habits, such as phone ‘addiction’, it cannot survive.

“For instance, if you want to sell clothes, the bulk of your market is on Instagram or is scrolling through an e-commerce website and you have no choice than to develop more.

“This addiction can best be traced to prestige that comes with having phones, but when smartphones came with instant messaging, it became a thrilling feature that set the ball rolling,” Omogbai said.

Meanwhile, a psychologist, Mr Adura Daramola told NAN that phone addiction could be as bad as normal substance abuse, however, ‘victims’ could seek for therapy from psychologists.

“There are various ways for you to know if you are addicted. This includes feeling of loss when you are not with the phone, impulsive cravings to hold or scroll through your phone.

“Others are hysterical behaviour and even depression when you are away from the phone and compulsive need to update a phone when a new one comes out,” Daramola said.

He compared the addiction to drug abuse, “the way abusers feel the need to upgrade to stronger drugs to satisfy cravings; and the painful healing process, including loneliness’’.

Daramola explained that people needed to watch their phone habits, “once the phone separates you from your immediate environment, even when you are in it, it is a red flag”.

He advised people to “constantly spend more time talking face to face, transact business offline and find fulfilling physical recreational activities.”