“Although the addiction to mobile phones is not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), it can be considered a behavioural addiction, similar to addictions such as gambling and shopping, which have the potential to cause mild to severe impairments in a person’s life,” says Ndhlovu.
According to Neera Bhikha, a neurophysiologist at the Sandton Medi Clinic, our addiction to our cellphones and the internet has negative effects on our lives as it fuels unnecessary anxiety and stress.
“Nomophobia is the fear of being without your mobile phone and it results in a variety of impulse control problems such as virtual relationships, social media, dating applications and messaging, which are not healthy substitutes for real life interactions,” says Bhikha
Excessive digital consumption in children
Alarmingly, children have become increasingly dependent on technology, and according to Dr Ndhlovu, this is learned behaviour.
“Children have learned to become dependent on technology at a much younger age than ever before and unfortunately the pandemic did not help the situation, with students having to resort to online schooling.
"Unlike adults, children are a lot more impressionable and dependent to technological gadgets, which makes them more vulnerable to the adverse impact on their concentration span, impulse control and self-esteem,” says Ndhlovu