English | Dzongkha Saturday, July 21, 2018

Many young people are smartphone addicts, a study finds

Phub Gyem, Thimphu
Jul 11, 2018

An ongoing online survey by a group of students from the College of Language and Culture Studies (CLCS) in Taktse found out many youths in the country are addicted to cell phones.

The students shared the preliminary findings at the Gross National Happiness Youth Leadership Programme organized by the GNH Centre Bhutan.

The findings show that 148 of the 212 survey respondents experience anxiety due to fear of losing their phones.

More than 100 respondents said they feel the urge to use phones in places they aren’t allowed to. Close to 200 of them use their phones in bed.

They spend seven hours on their phones on an average every day and use voice and data packages worth over Nu 3,000.

Dorji Tenzin is among the group of students from Taktse ILCS that’s carrying out the survey. He says many are aware of the negative impacts of excessive use of phones but they do not care.

Dorji Tenzin admitted he is also guilty of spending too much time on his phone.

“I was exposed to cell phone when I was 18. Over the years, I have become smartphone addict too. I feel as if something is missing when I’m without my phone. I answered the survey questions myself first and found I am an addict,” he shared.

“So, I cannot imagine the situation of younger generation who are growing up with cell phones. If my generation is using phone for two hours a day, it could be six to seven hours or more in their case.”

The ongoing study, once complete, is expected to serve as a baseline for further research.

“Almost every youth own a smart phone today and are becoming addict, but not much is done to address the issue. In other countries, they have come up with measures to help people overcome phone addiction. So, we thought our work will prompt actions to tackle the problem,” Dorji Tenzin added.

The survey is being carried out to come up with ways to overcome smartphone addiction.

“Internet service providers can play a role here. They could disable internet for certain period of time at night,” he said.

Parents also can do a lot, he added. “They should find time for their children to engage them in meaningful talks. They can also come up with house rules like no phones during meal time, or a day without phone. But the will and discipline, of course, must come from within.”

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