Top 10 Signs of Smartphone Addiction

20 Years after I first got online I find chronic dependency is a bigger problem than online addiction. Before broadband and smartphones in particular, Internet was limited to your office or your home. Now it’s in your pocket, and it’s always-on!

In 2012 my HTC smart phone was stolen in a guest house, and I recall the withdrawal symptoms vividly. After a few months I replaced it because the apps were so “useful” I could not live without them. In September 2013 I moved to China with a phone and wanted to try and live without one. Within a week I realised it was going to be extremely difficult and purchased a cheap Chinese branded smart phone, Fadar.

Top 10 Signs of Smartphone Addiction

  1. Phantom Vibration Syndrome: Walking around with your smartphone in your pocket, your bag or elsewhere virtually ensures you will be checking it frequently. You imagine your handset vibrating and don’t want to miss the call or text message the moment it comes in. This is especially severe when you move between silent, meeting and normal mode.
  2. Battery Low:  You have your favourite gadget with you but you’re powerless to use it. Maybe you left your charger at home, maybe you’re travelling and won’t return home for a few hours longer than anticipated. Either way you cannot use a dead phone, so you keep rubbing it like it’s Aladdin’s lamp, wishing for the genie to emerge and grant you a new wish.
  3. Which Apps? – A journalist recently claimed to have over 200 apps installed on his phone. Having so many applications on your phone can certainly fill up your screen in the same way your Laptop’s desktop fills up with icons. The app stores are exploding with free and paid apps, and there’s seems no limit the variety.
  4. Sleeping with Smartphones: Many people fall asleep chatting on the phones or listening to music. I’ve always used my phones as alarm clocks. In recent times my sleeping pattern have become more erratic as a I depend on my Smartphone to relax after a stressful day.
  5. Smile You’re on Candid Camera: Smartphones are replacing digital cameras, in the same way digital cameras replaced the previous film-based cameras. Use of Instagram and photo sharing websites confirms the importance of good smartphone cameras. It’s really hard to beat the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones for superior Megapixels. Now I wonder, do they still ban people from using smartphones in your local gym?
  6. Predictive Text: People are typing faster than ever before. However, children developed their own short hand by developing what we used to call sms language or MXit words. Predictive text is my salvation because I still prefer to use full words and proper English where possible.
  7. Forget Me Not: When you forget your Smartphone at home and you go back to collect it in peak hour traffic. Many people have experienced this strong opposition to spending an entire day without their smartphones. They will rather make the sacrifice of wasting 1-2 hours in traffic to go back home and get their most valuable piece of technology in the world.
  8. Not enough memory: As you install more and more apps on your phone, you also save more music, videos and photos, you are bound to run into the limitations of 8-16-32GB on your SDcard. More and more people are moving towards the cloud for their saving grace – no pun intended.
  9. Voice message not voice mail: Since I started using Wechat I started I find myself receiving and sending short audio messages. Even though this was available on Whatsapp, I hardly used it. When I used MXit in the past it was something cute but not used very often. People are making less voice calls, leaving fewer and fewer voice mails, but voice messages are on the increase.
  10. No Signal: This is no longer as big a problem as it used to be. Even in the most remote areas you can get a signal. Someone told me that even in on Mt Everest you can get some kind of signal because a cell tower was installed in 2010.

Anyway in the last five years of using smartphones I’ve had ups and downs, thrills and shills. Post a comment with anything you’ve experienced that


Matthew Buckland: Future of the Web

Matthew Buckland, MD of Creative Spark, talks about the future of the web for the Ogilvy #HowToFriday in 2012. This was a very good overview of the current and forthcoming trends in social media, smartphones and the Web. I’m very glad he emphasises the importance of Privacy as we move towards augmented reality, the Facebook effect applied to smart devices.

I first met Matt Buckland in 2004 when he was Editor of Mail & Guardian Online. He was very gracious in allowing me to interview him for my original research into the online dating industry in South Africa.


Cyber bullying among Children in Gauteng

Cyberbullying cellphones statistics gautengIn 2012 Cyberbullying is no longer a joke.  UNISA released a study questioning children’s increasing use o cell phones as a learning tools. Research by Prof Deon Tustin, head of the Bureau of Market Research (BMR) indicates that 24.2 % of children in high schools use phones to improve mathematics and 23% use them to research homework.

According to this study, mobile phones can be used to educate children, access to the Internet and provides a foundation for bullying. In the survey among high school children in Gauteng, 34% of the learners reported that they have been bullied in the past two years. The highest number (42 %) was grade 8 children. They also reported being bullied more by their peers than any other group, with 60.4 % saying they by other young people. Another 23.3 % of respondents admitted to bullying someone. Cyberbullying takes place mostly through SMS and social media, the researchers found.

Some 37 % of South African teenagers were victims of online abuse, of these, 40.3 % did not report it, while almost 52 % did and 8.9 % were uncertain. Factors include retaliation, peer pressure, anger, recognition or entertainment. These factors could actually drive a victim to being physically ill or even suicidal.

Almost 80 % of high school children admitted having consumed alcohol, while 66.6 % admitted to having been drunk and 44.8 % to binge drinking. The research by Antoinette Basson of the Youth Research Unit was done among 4346 learners in randomly selected schools in Gauteng. Almost 60 % said they did it to fit in, 45.6 % said they wanted to get away from their worries and another 34 % said it builds their self-confidence.

Parents are the primary role models and play a significant role in the lives of children. My seminars help reduce the gap between children and parents and their understanding of the issues, both positive and negative. Online abuse is more widespread because  smartphone usage has increased exponentially with BlackBerry and iPhone usage. Children and adults easily develop a dependency to the always-on lifestyle, the constant connection that must be satisfied no matter what the cost to personal relationships. This is destroying their ability to feel or express empathy, which is not easy through a screen.


  1. What is cyber bullying? The use of online and mobile technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour towards another person. You can be both the perpetrator and the victim of cyberbullying attacks using sms or social media. Among adults it’s referred to as cyber harassment.
  2. How prevalent is it amongst in South Africa? A UNISA study found > 60% of teens interviewed have been bullied, > 20% admitted to bullying someone else. As people continue to upgrade to Smartphones there will be a correlating increasing in Smartphone abuse both by children and adults.
  3. What are the reasons – is it a variation on school bullying?Yes, it is a variation on bullying, which in itself is a variation on harassment, which in turn is derived from low self image and lack of empathy.
  4. One answer may be to ban cell phones – but they are used as an educational tool? Although the argument is made for cellphones in school, especially higher families and neighbourhoods, the downside is worse. So when the disadvantages of a technology outweighs the advantages, serious consideration must be paid to clear boundaries or limitations.
  5. What is the psychological impact of such bullying?Because of the victims tend to be grade 8 children from the UNISA study, the impact is severe. This is bound to cause a strongly negative association with the group experience of compulsory schooling.
  6. How should we be educating our children about this? Children must learn from their parents and teachers how to manage conflict. Conflict resolution must become a core part of Life Orientation subjects. The Centre for Teaching Peace in Washington DC provides a curriculum for 9 steps to conflict resolution, which have been successfully taught to primary school children. The increase in cyber-bullying is simply a reaction or a defence to the attacks. This fosters a cycle of abuse which spirals out of control in isolated cases.
  7. What signs do parents/teachers need to be looking out for regarding cyber bullying? Signs of Awareness is the key as always. So cultivating the sharing of stories of bullying through essay writing or group discussions. Children, whether victims or perpetrators of online bullying, must feel safe before they can completely open up about experiences or motivations.
  8. What should parents teachers do if children are being subject to cyber bullying? Step one is to remove their access, and limit the damage already caused. Help them diagnose the situation by showing them how to take proactive steps to protect themselves. When children try to defend themselves, online, the abuse increases. After you “unplug” from the situation it becomes easier to go to the next step, blocking or banning the person from your mobile phone or social network. Third and final step is to report them to the service provider i.e. Facebook, BlackBerry or your ISP (MWeb, Telkom Internet, etc).




BBM vs. WhatsApp: A Mobile IM Comparison

High cost of cellular network services such as SMS, voice calls and multimedia messaging has led a significant number of people to seek out other alternatives to be able to communicate with one another in any parts of the globe. Luckily, the internet showed answers to this matter. Chatrooms social networking sites and instant messaging services allowed virtually free conversation by merely using a PC with an internet connection. However, the innovation did not stop there. Instant messaging (IM) is now available in the comforts of your own mobile devices and there are also mobile IM comparisons to help you in deciding the best IM service.

Instant messaging through mobile phones and other handheld devices has become a blockbuster success especially among the young people as shown in mobile IM product comparisons. This mobile IM comparison will share the cool features of two popular instant messaging applications trending on numerous mobile IM product comparisons which are the Blackberry Messaging service (BBM) and WhatsApp.


BlackBerry Messenger BBMThe Blackberry Messaging Service or most commonly known as BBM is very popular in mobile IM product comparisons. Also, it is exclusive to Blackberry phone users only. The exclusivity mainly relies on the fact that one can only create a BBM account through a unique alphanumeric PIN that is assigned to each individual Blackberry device. You could add BBM contacts by typing their PIN code, e-mail address, phone number or name. Another cool way to add contacts is by taking a snapshot of another Blackberry unit’s unique barcode. This feature is a big plus as discussed in mobile IM product comparisons

BBM users enjoy a lot of great features shown in mobile IM product comparisons such as fully customizable profile pictures, threaded chat interface, setting your status for your contacts to see and tons of emoticons and graphics. It is also possible to send pictures or voice notes through BBM. The best feature stated in various mobile IM product comparisons is that it comes practically free when the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) is availed of. This service is practically the winner on most mobile IM product comparisons.


WhatsApp messenger smartphonesWhatsApp messenger is a mobile phone instant messaging application that works quite like BBM in terms of allowing its users to send and receives text messages without having to pay for the network operator’s SMS charges. As stated in mobile IM product comparisons, it is a good thing that it can be available in different platforms such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia and Android. As such, WhatsApp users are capable of reaching more people as shown on majority of mobile IM product comparisons.

WhatsApp can be used by using either the mobile network’s internet service or by WiFi. This makes this service virtually free of charge. Aside from text messages, you could also send photos, videos and audio messages as well. Another cool feature of this application, as given in various mobile IM product comparisons, is that you could also broadcast your location to your contacts by virtue of GPS technology. Moreover, you could say goodbye to adding your contacts manually because it is done automatically by searching your phonebook for contacts who is using the WhatsApp service. These features score well on mobile IM product comparisons


To conclude this mobile IM comparison, it can be said that IM can be a great help to business or leisure. It could also bring people closer no matter how great their distance is from one another. As trendy as it is, it could never be a better alternative to what personal conversation provides in social interaction no matter what it is said on various mobile IM product comparisons. When using BBM or WhatsApp, you should always observe self-control in order to avoid addiction which could ultimately result to degradation of personal communication skills. Further, it is always a good idea to look at more mobile IM comparisons to see what will provide you with the best IM service, as shown in this mobile IM comparison.


How to Use Skype for Mobile and Smart Phones

Skype is a VOIP or voice over internet protocol software that supersedes the cellphone networks. It allows people to communicate over long distances instead of using mobile phones and using airtime. It provides services similar to telecommunication providers except that it uses the internet as its primary mode of communication both for text chat and voice chat.

As long as you have on your smart phone and use one of the recommended mobile data packages or then you will be able to make calls that you normally cannot make when using the services of your local telecommunication companies. You can even make complete free Skype-to-Skype calls when you are using wifi networks in the South Africa or elsewhere.

Skype mobile is a new feature developed by the makers of Skype in order to make phones such as Android phones, Blackberry phones together with iPhone and iPad units compatible with the Skype software application. In order to know more about this brilliant new feature, it is necessary to discuss it per phone.

Skype for android is an application made especially for the Android platform. It is compatible with both Wi-Fi connection and 3G connection, allowing you to make large scale calls via both connections. You can easily connect to other android phone users by using the Wi-Fi connection of the local mall or store situated in your area. You can also make full use of the 3G services being provided by Vodacom, Cell C or MTN if you are located in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth or Pretoria. All there is to it is to install the android based Skype in order to get started.

Blackberry is another mobile phone type that is being widely used in a global scale today. Whether you are situated in Cape Town, Durban or any other major city in South Africa, you will surely be able to see people using blackberry phones. This prompted Skype to develop Skype for Blackberry, an application that is perfect for the blackberry phone with models 2009 and up. This version of Skype allows Blackberry phone users to freely use the Skype application similar to any other Blackberry based application being widely used today.

Skype is also available for the iPhone and iPad. For iPhones, it is already compatible with the first releases as long as the iPhone is 3G compatible. You can also opt to go for the newly released iPhone 4 in order to use the much faster 4G connection for easier calls worldwide. You can also use Skype for iPad. Depending on your accessories you can use either or both text chat and voice chat with this powerful tablet pc or personal computer from the Apple Mac brand.

Whether you have the Skype for Android or Skype for Blackberry or Skype mobile, you will surely be able to make full use of the Skype application wherever you are, whenever you want to. As long as you have a good internet connection then you can easily download and install Skype for any compatible device. You can also buy credits using your mobile or internet plan or via your debit or credit card, whichever you prefer. The best part here is that the credits will already reflect on your Skype balance in as fast as 10 minutes!


Smartphone the surprise newcomer in mobile race

Johannesburg:- Smartphones have made a dramatic entry into corporate South Africa, far surpassing general consumer use or small business use.

This is a surprise finding from a new research study released today by World Wide Worx. The Mobile Corporation in SA 2010 report reveals that three quarters of South African companies have deployed smartphones within their organisations, compared to almost none two years ago.

The study, backed by First National Bank (FNB), leaders in cellphone banking in Africa, and Research In Motion (RIM), the developer of the BlackBerry solution, shows that saturation point has almost been reached by large South African companies in the use of fixed landlines (96%) and ordinary cellphones (92%). And, as forecast in 2007, 3G data card penetration has also reached near saturation, with 94% of large companies deploying it. Now the focus has turned to integration of smartphones with business processes.

“These results show that enterprise mobility solutions are no longer just nice to have. They’re essential for businesses that want to be competitive, responsive and efficient in a world where a customer won’t wait for a salesperson who is visiting customers and where project flow can’t stop because a manager is at a full-day meeting,” says Deon Liebenberg, Regional Director for Sub Sahara Africa at RIM. “Not only does mobility allow companies to improve internal efficiencies and communications, it also enables them to interact more effectively with their increasingly mobile customers.”

The study also showed that corporate South Africa expects to embrace the new world of online services to an extent that was not even anticipated as recently as one year ago.

“Until last year, concepts like Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing were regarded as little more than buzzwords,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx.

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