Smartphone: A Killer Ignored - myRepublica

Smartphone: A Killer Ignored – myRepublica

While the physical and mental health issues, social crime, and suicide among teens associated with excessive smartphone use are already alarming, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when we look at the death caused by smartphone use on the road.

More than 55 million people die every year. While most people die of natural causes – diseases and old age, about 5% of the planet’s population dies unnaturally. The two main contributors to unnatural deaths are road accidents and suicide, and the increasing number of road accidents and suicides is now attributed to increased digitalisation.

Smartphones have become indispensable in our daily lives since their emergence two decades ago. Almost 70% of the population is using smartphones across the world today, and everything available on the internet is also easily available on smartphones. Smartphones are so integrated into our daily activities that life without them is unimaginable. Although smartphones have made it easier for us to stay in touch with family and friends, they have also brought unprecedented challenges to health and social problems.

Many studies have been done on the health problems caused by smartphones, and it is certain that excessive smartphone use can cause anxiety, depression, and antisocial behaviors. A study conducted by the University of Arizona showed that teens who use smartphones show signs of depression. Another similar study revealed that insomnia among teens is directly related to smartphone use. Excessive use of smartphones also reduces the attention span of individuals. Research also shows that social media users are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide if they experience cyberbullying in the virtual world of the Internet. Another study found an 8.7% increase in suicide attempts. Up to 37% of victims of bullying develop social anxiety, experience depression, experience academic difficulties, or have suicidal thoughts and attempt suicide.

Research reveals a 70% increase in depression and anxiety associated with social media use in the past 20 years, a period when smartphone use and online activities gained popularity. The time internet users spend on social media, online video and online games. But an increasing number of young people are now also using smartphones for mobile gaming, online gambling and watching pornography. These activities can easily lead young people to criminal activities and completely destroy their lives. So, uncontrolled and unwise use of smartphones creates serious social problems.

According to the World Health Organization, suicide rates among adolescents aged 15-19 increased by 47% between 2000 and 2017. It is a clear sign that after the introduction of smartphones and social media, the mental health of people around the world has deteriorated dramatically. . Besides physical and mental health issues, there are also increasing reports of the accidental death of social media users while filming a video.

While the physical and mental health issues, social crime, and suicide among teens associated with excessive smartphone use are already alarming, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when we look at the death caused by smartphone use on the road.

The indirect cause of road accidents is often not reported. When we look at the actual cause of road accidents, most accidents are caused by drunk driving, speeding, poor road conditions, bad weather, and distracted driving. The reasons for distracted driving may be many, but the use of phones while driving has been identified as the main distraction on the road. Reports suggest that smartphones cause 26% of distracted driving. If the driver checks his phone while driving, it may cause a fatal accident. This not only kills the person in the driver’s seat, but also the people in the car and pedestrians. Despite the rising deaths, mobile phone distraction rates remain alarmingly high worldwide and are on the rise. Statistics show that 23% of road accidents are caused by driver distraction by smartphones, accounting for more than a quarter of a million deaths worldwide.

Despite the emergence of smartphones as one of the most important killers in our technology-dominated world, they are often overlooked because they are not the direct cause of death. Life lost on the road or suicide cannot be brought back, nor can a spoiled child or Internet victim be brought back to normal. Digitization has touched every aspect of our lives with alarming speed, and smartphones will be more and more indispensable in the future. Despite making our lives easier and keeping us well connected and informed, excessive and unwise use of electronic gadgets, especially a device like a smartphone, can threaten our lives.

In a country like Nepal, where road conditions are poor, traffic rules are loose, people are not well educated, and internet usage regulations are not strict, the unwise use of smartphones may not only be life threatening but also a serious social problem.

Therefore, parents, society and government need to take the negative impact caused by smartphones and other digital devices seriously and take action to protect our mental and physical health and safety before it is too late.


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