Has Your Smartphone Addiction Increased During The Pandemic Era?

The pandemic, sure, has changed the way we look at our smartphones. However, people had been complaining about the attachment (or, maybe, addiction) of the young generation with their smartphones. Thanks to the pandemic! This attachment has definitely gone a thousand folds deeper. 

Recently, Vivo and CyberMedia Research (CMR) India surveyed 2000 respondents across the top eight cities of India, covering the people from age groups ranging between 18 years and 45 years. The report from the survey is called ‘Smartphones and their impact on Human Relationships’. Vivo India aims to sensitise people about ‘responsible usage’ of smartphones and its benefits through the second edition of this study. Vivo India had conducted a similar study the previous year as well.

The study states that the average time the respondents spent on smartphones looked up 11%, i.e. 5.5 hours in March 2020 (pre-COVID times) as compared to about an average of 4.9 hours in 2019. This has further grown by an additional 25% to 6.9 hours starting from April 2020 the report said.

According to the report, Indians have been spending much more time on their smartphones since the lockdown for reasons such as, such as work from home – 75% increase, calls – 63% increase, and over-the-top (OTT) services, such as Netflix – 59% increase in the time spent on their smartphones. 

Further, there has been an increase in the time spent on social media by 55% and on gaming on smartphones by 45%. The average time spent on taking selfies and other pictures have increased by 14-18 minutes on an average. Vivo’s Brand Strategy Director expressed that excessive usage of smartphones, or anything else, can lead to adverse effects.

The Weapon of Distraction

The study says that 84% of respondents check their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up, while 46% respondents have the habit of picking up the phone a minimum of five times in during an hour-long meeting and conversation with friends. Seven out of eight respondents have mentioned that people point out their phone usage habits while with them.

Also Read: Kulhad Chai to Replace Plastic Cups in Railway Stations Across India

Impact on Human Relationships

People are spending more time with family, i.e. there is about a 26% increase on an average, from 4.4 hours before pandemic to 5.5 hours post-COVID. In contrast, most respondents agreed that their smartphone usage habits had had an impact on the quality of time they spend with their family.

About 70% of the respondents confessed that their smartphone usage has adversely affected their relationship with their loved ones.

Though there is a possibility of some of these habits to get better with the change in the pandemic status, the other habits could be permanent. 

Impact on Mood 

The study says that 74% of respondents get moody and irritable when they stop using their smartphones, while 73% said that they feel compelled to check their phones constantly. About 74% of respondents agreed that they must have a life that is separate from their smartphones. Also, 73% of the respondents thought that they would be happier if they could spend less time on smartphones.

A whopping 70% of the surveyed respondents had the thought that if they continue using the smartphone at the same level or increase, it would likely make an impact on their mental or physical health. 

Solution?!

About 74% of these respondents have come up with their own solution of periodically switching off their phones to spend more time with their family. However, thinking of switching off their phones and actually doing it are two poles apart. 

Would you have shared similar opinions regarding your smartphone usage habits? If you do, only your conscious efforts to stay away from your phones during designated time periods and using that time for something more valuable can make things better for you. If you are not as ‘attached’ or ‘addicted’ to your smartphones as the survey respondents, then good for you!

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at apoorva.n@cleartax.in

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