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ICT experts warn on consequences of cell phone addiction

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Some Information and Communication (ICT) experts have warned that addiction to the use of cell phones has socio-cultural and economic consequences.The experts told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Abuja that cell phone addiction was affecting social relationships and perforating the pockets of users.But they noted that clutching on cell phones to undertake some activities online is a trending occurrence since the advent of cellular phones.

Although, public analysts observe that this trend, which they describe as addiction, has some consequences on the users but some people say it is a normal occurrence to move on with global information development.

Mr Babayo Damisa, the Managing Director of Damisah Creative Agency, an ICT company, said “getting addicted to phones is a global challenge which is hard to combat”. Damisa said most youths are addicted to their phones, either being on social media or playing games, which might not be educational.He said viewing education programmes on phones was a positive one, but majority of youths were either wasting their time on social media discussing things that were not relevant to their development.

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“This has negative effect on their academic programmes; in the recent time it is very difficult for youths to compose a comprehension without using jargons from the social media.“So, it is a challenge that the stakeholders including government at all levels should look into in order to salvage this generation from phone addiction.
“Mobile applications come with a lot of advantages but the addiction is one of the disadvantages that bedevil the development of our society because we waste most of our precious time chatting on social media, discussing things that are not relevant.

“If you go to YouTube today to check what is trending, you could hardly find one education programme trending in Nigeria social space.“When I train youths on development and we go to education site, they find it boring, what they are all looking for in social media is gossip, music and all of that.

“We have a burden, we have to educate the youth on what they can derive from social media as it is a blessing and not suppose to be a curse if we use it properly.’’
Mr Blaise Aboh, Lead trainer, Code for Nigeria, and Founder Orodata Science, noted Nigerian youths are mostly addicted to ICT.

According to Aboh, ordinarily, ICT in itself is good, but in Nigeria youths are mostly addicted to the social media to gather information, process information with updates.

“Nigerians are addicted to phones even during the time of recession. I experienced this when I walked into a computer village slot; shops were occupied by various categories of people transacting business and browsing.

“Everyone wants to connect and know what is happening around the world from time to time, this is an addiction,’’ Aboh said.

Similarly, Mr Collins Omoregie, a computer analyst, said telephone addiction had its negative effect on the human system as phones emit rays; this is because some phone screens have Light Emitting Diode (LED).

“Nowadays, we have Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), LED and High Dimension (HD) phones which emit radiation and by the time these phones are close to your eyes especially at night, it affects and shrinks the eyes. Omoregie said the use of phones could lead to accident as some people would be driving and at the same time operating their phones because they were addicted to phone use.

“We should try as much as possible to minimise the use of our smart phones. You can structure out when to use the phone.“The recent statistics in Facebook indicated that at least 70 per cent of Facebook users spend two hours on Facebook every day.

“This shows how addicted people are. Some people can even spend three hours at a stretch,’’ he said.He said addiction cuts across both youths and elderly people but the teenagers were more addicted because they wanted to explore and know everything.

Mrs Blessing Okafor, a phone user, said: “Nigerians want to follow the trend of events all over the world; this is why they are addicted to phones.“Some people don’t have time for television anymore; they browse with their phone to connect with the internet to get everything they want.

“It is even cheaper to chat online than to make international calls, even if you choose not to see a doctor, you can get one online.’’Okafor said youths were more addicted to phones but “these days everybody wants to browse as they are trying to catch up with the trend of events.“The implication of this is that media houses will be going down as people can now advertise their products online’’.Similarly, Mrs Bola Akinsoju, a phone user, said addiction to phone could be hazardous to health.According to her, it may cause migraine, eye defect and backache, among others.


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Babayo DamisaICT
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