Stakeholders in Lagos have decried the “frivolous things’’ done by most people addicted to cell phones, saying the addiction is dangerous to life.
The stakehoilders, including educationists, religious leaders and Information Communication Technologists (ICT), express their views in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Dr Sola Afuye, a Lecturer in the Department of Kinetics and Health Education, University of Lagos, said that most people, especially students addicted to cell phones, use the phones for frivolous things.
Afuye told NAN that even with the cell phones, which could be used to access the internet, most students were still “academically shallow’’.
He decried the high level of decay which cell phone addiction had brought into the academic lives of students, saying that “phone addiction is a distraction in the class’’.
Afuye said: “Unless a lecturer goes round, he may not know that a large number of students are pinging while lecture is on.
“A lot of students snap the notes of their friends.
“How do you imagine a student reading other student’s handwriting for examination? It makes them to be lazy academically.’’
According to him, cell phones are supposed to assist the students in doing their assignments but because they use the phones for frivolities, they are shallow intellectually.
“Even though the internet is supposed to be useful and resourceful academically, the reverse is the case. They use it for more of frivolous things.
“A lot of them, you will wonder whether they are musicians. You see them putting on ear piece all the time.
“Engage them in any discussion they will fail because they do not read. They have nothing to offer.
“Do you hear most of them (students) engaging in either political or economic discussions?
“The phone now becomes something like a “demigod’’ for the young folks. Instead of waking up in the morning to pray, they want to check the Instagram, WhatsAPP and other messages on their phones.’’
Dr Emmanuel Akinyemi, Chief Medical Director, Gowon Estate Hospital, Egbeda, Lagos, said that regarding the health hazards of hand phones, it had always been a controversial topic.
“Opinions defer but it is generally agreed that the microwave lengths do cause very minor neo-plastic changes to the brain cells. Not proved fully,” Akinyemi, an Associate Fellow, Family Medicine, said.
A retired teacher, Dr Ngozi Osemenam, said that using phones in the classrooms led to distractions.
She said that the benefit a student could derive from using phones was to do assignments, noting that this should not be done during class hours.
Mr Jide Awe, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) expert, attributed the high level of phone addiction to the growth of social media in the country.
According to him, the growth is seen mostly in the urban settlements where one can easily have access to the internet.
“The percentage of phone addiction is really high in the country, mostly in the urban areas than in other areas and this is due to social media.
“Social media enables one to do a lot of things like chatting, `news on the go’, entertainment and so many others things.
“Those mostly affected are the younger ones, who are glued to the social media,” Awe said.
“As regards who is mostly addicted, I will say female but of recent, because of sports and `news on the go’, men are equally hooked to their phones,’’ he said.
Awe suggested that government could play advisory role by creating an enabling environment and encouraging people to be more productive while using their phones and the internet.
“People should also be educated that sitting in one place and becoming addicted to phones is not too good for health; thus the need for physical activities,’’ he said.
A Medical Doctor, Dr Uzoma Amadi, said that addiction to cell phone could cause brain tumour.
“People are also advised to use the phones on the left ear and not to make use of phones when the batteries are too low because of radiation. The other thing is the effect on the eyes,’’ Amadi warned.
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Olewuezi of St. Anthony Catholic Church, Alagbado, Lagos, said that using phones as apps and hymnal in churches also distract the service.
Olewuezi said that it was usually printed on the doors of churches that all parishioners should switch off phones in order to avoid distractions.
According to the cleric, there is the tendency of using a phone for other things in the church aside from r it.
“In our local churches, though people use phone due to technological age but it is advisable that using bible apps on phone should not be totally encouraged.
“Everybody should have a bible which is meant to be read,’’ the cleric said.
Mr Adeniyi Ojikutu, President, Computer and Phone Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), says cell phone addiction is eroding social and family values.
Ojikutu told NAN that families were no longer relating well with each other because of gap in physical contact created by phone addiction.
According to him, most couples when at home preferred to connect with friends on social media rather than having quality time with each other and their families.
“Phones are killing our social values. Husband and wife can be at home glued to their phones connecting their friends through social media, with little or no time for the other.
“This is eroding the cultural and family values. Therefore, in as much as technology is very good, we should not allow it to disrupt our social, family and cultural values,’’ he said.
Ojikutu noted that phone addiction was predominantly among women and also people within the ages of 15 and 35.
Mr Hyginus Omeje, Lagos State Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Sector Commander, said: “The issue of phone addiction while driving distracts driving and if you are apprehended, you will either be prosecuted by any of our mobile courts or fined N4,000.’’
According to Omeje, if we decide to prosecute you, the magistrate has the right to impose a fine on you and at the same time send the offender to six months imprisonment or any of the options available.
“If it’s just issue of issuing a ticket, it is N4,000.
“The matter of getting the statistical data of crashes of people using phone while driving is very difficult because it would happen and the driver may not be alive to tell the story, except there is a camera that caught him instantly.
“Then you could say that in the course of accident, investigation revealed that it was as a result of making use of phone while driving.
“My advice to the motoring public is that is that the issue of phone addiction is a very serious one. If your phone rings while driving, the best thing to do is to look for a convenient place and park to answer your call.
“That’s if you must answer the call; otherwise you could as well continue,’’ he said.