The viral spread of mobile phone mania makes billions of people the victims of many psychiatric disorders. It appears in children in the form of slow learning, learning disability, anxiety, irritation, disobeying, rebellious mentality and invisible insanity. Smartphones do not allow natural brain growth in children. Children of employed parents suffer the worst. Adults are also not free from numerous psychiatric disorders.
The Covid-19 pandemic locked everyone inside their home for months, and some even for two years. Four years down the line the world is dangerously different. Smartphones could widen their borders beyond the confining four walls. Eyes were never off the screen. Many people could explore a new world from which it was difficult to move. Children did not go to school for almost two years. But they had classes shrunk into the cosy smartphone screen while lying on their bed. The virtual classes enabled them to access the device once forbidden to them. Many experts wrote about disastrous consequences of children excessively using cell phones. Not many people cared about the prediction. Now, it is proving to be true as a disaster has begun to broom in the once peaceful social order and social psychology.
As I write this we are through the fourth year of the smartphone mania. Though the pandemic was not the trigger reason for our obsession with the smartphone, the lockdown accelerated the speed and intensity. The disaster unfolding now is invisible to the larger society as all are equally its victims. All carry the same degree of agony and anguish deeply and unspeakably lodged in everyone’s mind. It is visible only to those who keenly observe the changes within themselves and others around them.
If one takes a conscious approach to self to explore within him, he may be able to note an irresistible temptation invading his mind. The temptation is to grab his phone every other second without distracting attention from it. Today, we cannot imagine travelling even short distances without a smartphone in hand. Forget about it; one cannot sit in a meeting for half an hour without looking at the phone, even when there is no call alert. Even the elders with self-control lose control over their heavily tempting minds.
In the insane acquaintance with the phone, he misses reading what happens around him, fails to hear what others seriously tell and finds it difficult to return to a normal mental state even after the phone is off. He is dumb and deaf to the world outside the cell phone screen as he confines his mind inside the phone. Opium, tobacco or any other intoxicant cannot invade the brain and body as absolutely as a cell phone does. He fails to feel his hunger and thirst. His organs are dormant since he is in a stationary position. He is deeply stuck on the device, and he moves where the device takes him, the curious cyber world, a large heaven, but the heaven of Mephistopheles.
Every individual faces a psychiatric challenge in varying degrees because of one’s obsession with smartphones. Some suffer from forgetfulness and lack of concentration. Indications like sleeplessness, unreasonable panic, mood disorders, depression, disappointment, frustration, restlessness, reduced appetite for food, falling sexual interest, etc., are the results of this. These indications are now common in society. Besides these, social disasters like the tendency to commit suicide, divorce, neglectful parenting and even cold mother syndrome etc. are also the consequences of the obsession with smartphones.
(Sajikumar is a Mumbai-based author and blogger)