BENGALURU: Addiction is a common word in our society - nearly all of us have been around smokers, or encountered alcoholics or gamblers. There is one other addiction, though, far more insidious and just as deadly and it will surprise many. Smartphones.
Curb the outrage, though and consider: How long can we stay without looking at our phones? How long are we willing to go without them? Anxiety is one driver and the other is the Fear of Missing Out - studies on this phenomenon abound. Now, a student in Bengaluru has tried to address FOMO, with a game that helps people keep their phones of bay and to get a better understanding of the nature of technology. The fourth-year student from the International Twining Undergraduate Product Design program at NICC International College of Design, Bengaluru, has come up with JOMO (Joy of Missing), a game that furthers an understanding of the many adverse effects of technology and which keeps a check on the excessive use of smart phones.
While JOMO Home can be played with up to 10 people, with a pack of cards that talk about things like personal traits, routines or social participation levels. The players then write the name of the person who they feel best fits this feature. The person with the majority of votes will have the advantage, moving up to the next level. The players are not allowed to check their phones in the middle of the game as it brings them two steps down.
Varun explains to DC that his inspiration began at home. "My own family and friend circles deny being addicted to their phones and are not ready to accept it when they are confronted. This made me understand the importance of self-realisation and acceptance." The game is designed to be a point of realisation (not solution) for those who are infested by Nomophobia and to create a social impact which helps reduce the pseudo dependency (scenario in which a person is conditioned to believe that he is dependent on something which is not the case) on technology. Devoid of social interaction, he finds himself helpless in society and looking into his phone alleviates this helplessness.
"I see at this game evolving into various forms of engagement with different objectives, it can be a tool used at schools or as a team-building activity at corporate offices. This is easily achievable as the game is already very adaptive to the crowd to which it caters," Varun added. An average urban Indian gets an average screen time of 8-10 hours a day. The duration of usage is comparatively very high when the person is alone in a public space.
"India is one country where 88% of the population own mobile and is the second largest Smartphone market in the world. Country has in fact witnessed a dramatic increase in share of mobile phone users who use Smartphone from 21% in 2016 to estimate 39% in 2019 so our focus in the academics has always been to address the pain points affecting mass population at large" says Aleksandra, Academic Director at NICC International College of Design.
During primary research among peers done at NICC International College of Design it was found that most users feel the compulsion to carry their phone wherever they move within their house, this includes carrying the phone into the bathroom as high as 85% of the users check their phones first thing in the morning and end up spending about 30 minutes on them before getting out of bed....