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OPINION: Who will save our youths from addiction to smartphones?

There is no doubt that the emergence of the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) which started in Nigeria from 1999 has added a lot of positive values to the lives of many citizens of Nigeria. The system has upgraded the manner people now communicate and has improved the way some of the people do their businesses.

According to the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) statistics, as of May 2021, there are 186 million active GSM lines in the country and this indicates that there are some who even have more than one line, with some having as many as four SIM cards of different operators.

This has, without doubt, led to massive opportunities for the citizens not only to be able to communicate easily with their loved ones, but also to be able to have access to the interconnected network of the web servers worldwide, popularly known as the Internet, with the opportunity to connect to the entire world.

From banking to journalism; from the academia to the international economy; from the maritime sector to the health sector, among others, the people in the country have benefitted immensely from both the voice calls and the internet that the GSM has brought into our doorsteps, thereby making life easy for many people in the country.

However, a recent worrisome development about this phenomenon is the unnecessary and dangerous addiction of the system by some youths who now go about as if everything about their lives depends on it. They spend hours of the day hooked onto the internet on the phone almost busy with nothing. They spend hours on voice calls that have no benefits to their lives. Many no longer sleep as they are on the phone almost round the clock.

The addiction has affected the youths as they are not only committed to a lifestyle that is hazardous to their health, but also the smartphones have a psychological and emotional impact on them. Many hardly sleep nowadays and they are seen in public places, including work places and schools, deeply asleep when they are supposed to be busy working and studying.

The service providers do not help matters as many of them nowadays offer what they refer to as "free night browsing" which makes the youth to be addicted to their phones and spend the entire night to be on the phone while during the day when they are supposed to be productive at work, they are unable to do so as many of them would sleep off on duty.

It is always surprising seeing young men and women, especially on commercial motorcycles, busy on their phones even when the motorcycles are on top speed as they will be doing what is called "chatting" without bothering about their safety.

I once saw a young motorist inside traffic who was also busy with his phone "chatting." It is typical to observe people, particularly young men and women, using their phones while driving. It is also common knowledge that many of the accidents nowadays are attributed to addiction to smartphones.

There was a reported case of a young man who was knocked down by a vehicle on a road because he was so glued to his smartphone that he did not know that he had got to the main road. Since he was not aware of his environment due to the phone he was busy with and an earphone glued to his ears, an oncoming vehicle knocked him down and the driver refused to stop.

It is therefore pertinent to urge the youths on the need to exercise utmost caution over their unbridled addiction to the use of smartphones, both Android and iPhones, as this addiction may cause unnecessary havoc and danger not only to them, but also to other people around.  

Content created and supplied by: Osfem (via Opera News )

GSM Global System of Mobile Internet NCC Nigeria Communications Commission

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