From teenagers to adults, addiction to cell phones is one that cuts both ways. A gadget that was initially invented for the sole purpose of making calls has fast turned into a multi-purpose device with the advent of smartphones. Now, women have succeeded in burning up an entire pot of rice because they were going through social media on their mobile gadgets. Men have also often been seen crashing their heads against signposts while gazing at their phones.

Mr. Babayo Damisa, the Managing Director of Damisah Creative Agency, an infotech firm, once said that “getting addicted to phones is a global challenge which is hard to combat”. This is rightly so as this new phenomenon can lead to suicide and depression, according to a study carried out by the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

The study showed that mental health issues and a rise in new media screen activities were interwoven which further lent credence to the fact that the suicide rate in girls which rose by 65% between 2010-2015, and the depression rate which soared by 58% in that period, could have been caused by phone addiction.

According to a 2017 study in Korea published in the Journal of Behavioural Addictions, researcher Hye-Jin Kim and co. found that “compared with normal users, participants who were addicted to smartphones were more likely to have experienced any accidents”.

On this premise, it is important to discuss ways to check these excesses.

Self-discipline: The first step is to change your orientation about phones. You do this by telling yourself that you do not always have to hold on to your phone like it is a lost bride! What if you never had a phone or you never had the money to buy one? Would life not have continued normally? Would you have died? If the answer is NO, then you work towards making it less of a habit to always go through your phone. The truth is that your mind controls your body. So, decide and make up that mind of yours to detach from habitually using the phone.

Turn on only call notification: The next thing to do is to turn off other ringtone notifications asides the one for incoming calls. In the event you have to discuss something important over social media, then, let it be all about that purpose and nothing more. By putting off all other notifications bar phone calls, you reduce the number of times you needlessly spend surfing your phone.

Time management: Next up is to allot your time well. The truth is that if you do not have a clear pattern of what to do and when, you will only end up mixing up priorities. If you have to be in church from 8 am – 12 noon, then you should know that your phone cannot be active (not off) within that period. This order of priorities will help in no small way in curbing cell phone addiction.

It must, however, be noted that asking persons, especially teenagers, to give up their smartphones is not a good-enough solution. In fact, it could lead to what Forbes described in an article as “withdrawal”, where these teens will just withdraw themselves into a shell. In carrying out mental tasks these teens will only end up being distracted. The above solutions should suffice and in the event that it does not, it is then best to seek the help of a psychologist. But all things being equal, the above remedies, if fully implemented, should cause the desired change and shift from phone addiction.

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