With 26 per cent Delhi doctors suffering from severe mobile phone-induced anxiety, a survey conducted by non-government organisation Heart Care Foundation of India has recommended electronic curfew for about half-an-hour each day. Everybody should have 30 minutes of electronic curfew before they sleep. Use mobile only when mobile. Once the battery is discharged, call it a day for mobile use, noted the survey, which has been released on the occasion of World Environment Day.
The survey, that was conducted among 25 nurses of one hospital, 25 office staff of one public company, 25 media desk utives of one electronic TV media house and 87 family physicians from all across Delhi, has warned that the prolonged use of mobile phone can cause neck pain, dry eyes, computer vision syndrome, anxiety (ringxiety), phobias (nomophobia) and insomnia.
The results were disturbing, said K. K. Aggarwal of Heart Care Foundation. The survey found that 10 per cent office staff, 20 per cent nurses and 60 per cent media house desk utives and 31 per cent family physicians used smart phones.
On an average, nurses recharged their phone battery twice a day; media desk utives and doctors did it three times in a day. Sixty-one per cent doctors find someone to call as soon as they leave their office or as soon as their flight lands. Seventy per cent family physicians keep their cell phone with them constantly. Even at home they keep it in their pocket or right next to them. Forty-three per cent of them fiddle with their cell phone whenever they have downtime (even when they are not on the phone or they only have a very few minutes to kill), noted the survey.
It was also found that 33 per cent feel anxious about their cell phone, especially when they are unable to use it (meeting, plane, class, church), 28 per cent of them are uncomfortable and fidgety when they are not using their cell phone and seven per cent family physicians feel the need to talk on the phone almost all the time.
Sixty-three per cent of family physicians sleep with their cell phone under the pillow or on a night stand right next to the bed. This number is 20-50 per cent for nurses, office staff and media desk utives, said Dr. Aggarwal.
The survey, which was released at the Indian Medical Association office in the city, noted that among those who participated in the study 25 per cent family physicians sometimes believed their phone was ringing, but when they answered it or listened longer they found that it wasnt ringing at all (phantom ringing).
Fifteen per cent family physicians reported feeling stressed when they received their cell phone bill and then experienced shock once they actually saw the amount. Twenty-two per cent family physicians reported being unable to resist special offers on the latest cell phone models, noted the study.
IMAs Dr. Narendra Saini said: Mobile phones were also found to be a cause of disturbed sleep. It was also found that 90 per cent nurses and 50 per cent operation theatre technicians were taking calls during surgery. Ten per cent doctors, 20 per cent nurses and 50 per cent technicians would check their messages (SMS) even during surgery.
Speaking about the various ill-effects of cell phone abuse, he added: We have found that overuse of the thumb to operate a mobile device may lead to BlackBerry thumb. The thumb lacks the dexterity that the other four fingers have and the symptoms in the case include aching and throbbing pain in the thumb or sometimes other fingers and in the wrist.