In technological market, smartphones are modern and new innovation. IBM launched its and world’s first working smartphone in 1992. Smartphones are constantly becoming an integral part of our lives. The work we used to do with our desktop and PC’s can now be easily done with smartphones.
The very first smartphone at the time provides very few features and was branded under the brand name “Simon Personal Communicator.” And the features that make it a smart device is that it can send-receive emails and faxes. It was launched at a price tag of $899 which is the price of very high-end device in the present market.
Today’s smartphone devices combine powerful computing capability and advancement that makes it a most handy computer product in the market. According to bankmycell’s 2020 report, the world has 4.8 billion mobile users including 3.5 billion people using smartphones. This means that 45.04% percent of the world’s total population uses smartphones. This figure is much higher than the 2019 report, where smartphone users were only 3.2 billion
Growth of Smartphone & Mobile Users and Services in Nepal
According to the report from telecommunication regulatory body of Nepal, there are 37.8 million mobile phone users in Nepal as the data of 14 March, 2020. There is a great year-on-year growth on mobile phone subscribers in Nepal. There are several reasons for subscriber growth, and one of the top reasons is that smartphones brands are launching their product at lower prices to compete in the market.
#DigitalNepal2020 – Datareportal website has published below figures to help you understand the state of mobile, internet and social media use by consumers in Nepal.
It’s good to see that people upgrade and experience tech, but that gives rise to a number of other questions and issues. Smartphone users are much concerned about the effect on human health and life and are constantly raising concerns about this topic.
Let’s talk about few benefits and drawbacks of smartphone & mobiles.
Ease and Variation led by mobile-phones / smartphones:
Human life becomes easier with every innovation which is the same case with smartphone. As smartphones entered mass use, its services grew like boom and are growing each and every day.
- Instant communication: First and foremost, smartphone provide instant communication with people around the world that every user loves to do. The advent of smartphone technology has entirely altered the way people interact.
- Surfing the Net: According to research, in 2020, the opening of web browser uses 10 % of the total time people spend on the internet. You can imagine how much web surfing people love to do. Obviously, because people are receiving the latest information with easy access that saves time and money for the user.
- Education: Smartphones also provide the information and helpful content for education. People all over the world love interactive learning that is easily accessible with the smartphones.
- Useful Apps: Nearly 90% of users of smartphones in 2019, spend their time scrolling and opening apps. Productive apps help to make life easier for humans. E-commerce apps, travel apps and other types of apps offer convenient and easy options for users to instantly pick their service from any location.
Adverse effects, complexities and challenges
Smartphone technology is a great tool for supporting and using services which makes us to stick with it. Yet that can be dangerous for our lives, which also can lead to severe health problems.
- Electromagnetic Radiation: Smartphones emit harmful electromagnetic radiation from their antenna, and the nearby part of our body can absorb this emission and cause human body health problems. The total radiation energy is analysed by the frequency it contains. And for its measurement of absorption in human body, a value is defined which is known as specific absorption rate (SAR) value. The devices with a higher SAR value are therefore hazardous to human body. The range of the SAR values can vary from country to country.
For example, Nepal and the U.S. the maximum SAR value is 1.6W/ kg, meaning that product above 1.6W/ kg SAR value is not applicable to sell in Nepal and US market.
Each device’s SAR value is measured before it is launched onto the market and is measured in the finest condition of the device. This means the value can vary according to the usage. Below are some of the mobile phones you may be using with their SAR value. The SAR values for those devices are measured by statista in 2019. Interestingly, Xiaomi Mi A1 tops the list with 1.75W/kg SAR value which is not considered good for human body.
We have done some research and prepared a detailed output on phones which emit most radiation on year 2020. On doing our research we have found that One Plus 7T tops the chart with a SAR value of 1.4 w/kg. This particular device hasn’t crossed the maximum SAR value defined by Nepal Government which makes it safe and secure to use.
Tip: You can check particular handset SAR value by dialling USSD code *#07# in Keypad.
- Blue Light/Light at night (LAN): This is the subject that almost all the readers need to know about. Most of the people use smartphone very actively but they do not know about the consequences of blue light to their health. As founded in various research people using mobile phones with Blue light or exposed to LAN seems to have a range of illness which majorly includes sleep and psychiatric disorder problems. Peoples are also reported with obesity, diabetes and several kinds of cancer-causing germs in the body. As report says, blue light can cause a change in sleep/wake cycles of human which is called circadian rhythm. Recently, a researcher found that blue light alters human natural process and disrupts the circadian rhythm. So, devices with blue light must be ignored at evening and night time to promote a healthy environment within the body.
How can we identify Blue Light?
There isn’t a natural way for our eyes to detect blue light. Allowing the Night mode on our devices, however, let us feel the difference and effect when filter is on and off. Nearly all brands of smartphones provide Night mode on their device which is an appreciated technology by users of mobile phone. Another better choice for avoiding blue lights may be using Blue light filter glasses. The blue-light blocking lenses have filters in their lenses that block or absorb blue light and UV light in some situations
- Productivity: It is one of the most important issues peoples are facing (parents in particular) all over the world, including Nepal. Mobile phones are diminishing the productivity of their kids and other home members. To do a task is just one click, but it’s easier to throw your time without any result. People use mobile phone with great interest and discover their use cases in different fields but most users discover negative use-cases that gives them enough entertainment but there is no result on spent time. Many steps have been taken for this issue such as parental control, but most parents in Nepal do not know how to use these features due to lack of awareness. Exposure to these types of contents may cause problem in mental and physical growth.
- Cyber-crime: Every year cyber-crime gains top position in the cyber calendar. Criminals don’t care how much safety you’ve adapted to; they ‘re active everywhere. Cyber criminals steal data from users and sell them at low cost in the dark web which makes them money enough, but the direct impact goes to the users. Most people are using smartphones that are affected by cybercrime. Criminals send a link to download an app, or go to the web where they can steal data without the knowledge of the owner or they can adapt other ways to do it. Therefore, don’t give attention to the message from unknown sender.
Tips to curb Your Smartphone Addiction
We’ve talked a lot about mobile phone insights in our everyday routine. Living realistic/actual life can be a better option rather than continuous streaming in virtual life. It’s simply impossible to get rid of mobile phone as we’re surrounded by strong web of its users. However, to some extent it is possible to avoid the use of mobile phones. Here are some of the tips you might want to use to avoid them:
- Improve Work or Home role performance.
- Minimizing undesirable and unwanted social behaviours.
- Giving first importance to family and relationship.
- Do not surf internet for unwanted use.
- Establish a personal digital philosophy to use mobile products.
- Self-examine the time you spend on your device
- Limit usage during bed-time.