‘Fear of missing out’ is one of the drivers causing student addiction to their smartphones

Imogen Fitzgerald, student at DMU, shares her thoughts on smartphone addiction

By Isobel Rix

A study revealing nearly four in 10 university students are addicted to their smartphone and have their sleep affected as a result has resonated with students in Leicester.

A study of 1,043 students aged 18-30 at King’s College London found that 406 (38.9%) displayed symptoms of smartphone addiction, as defined by a clinical tool devised to diagnose the problem.

Social media is specifically designed to keep its users coming back for more, creating an addiction that can never be satisfied. Never-ending feeds promote a feeling of never being able to see everything, leading to FOMO (fear of missing out).

For many students their phone can be an escape from the world of deadlines, jumping onto Instagram to admire other people’s day-to-day or scrolling TikTok for a hit of dopamine.

Imogen Fitzgerald, 20, a psychology with criminology student at De Montfort University, said: “I’m would definitely say I’m addicted to my phone, badly.”

Participants in the study were judged to be addicts if they could not control how long they spent on their phone, felt distressed when they could not access their phone, or neglected other, more meaningful parts of their life because they were busy on their device.

Imogen said: “I would definitely be stressed if I wouldn’t be able to have my phone.

“I have only recently started putting it on do not disturb when I go to bed, when I first started doing it I’d get really paranoid that I would miss something important.”

Among those under 21 in the study, 42.2% were found to be addicted, compared with 34.2% of those aged 22-25 and 28% of those aged 26 or over.

Imogen said: “The fear of missing out on something is definitely more prevalent in 18 to 20 year-olds because my age group has always grown up with (mobile) phones.

“A lot of my social life, especially at the minute, is through my phone and I do definitely have that fear of missing out on what my friends are going to say or something going on in the world on the news.”

The time you put your phone down before going to sleep also has implications for addiction. “Of those that stopped using their device more than an hour before bedtime, 23.8% exhibited addiction, compared to 42% of those stopping less than 30 minutes before bedtime,” the paper reports.

Imogen said: “I don’t think I’d be able to stop using my phone for a full hour before bed, I don’t think I’d have anything to use to preoccupy my mind.”

Students who used their phone after midnight or for four or more hours a day were most likely to be at high risk of displaying addictive use of their device.

In a snap survey conducted by Leicestershire Press all participants had a higher daily average than four hours, with most reaching between six and seven hours of screen time.

Freya Richeda, 21, a fashion buying with marketing student at De Montfort University and one of the participants in the survey, had a daily average of 9.5 hours.

Freya said: “I feel like when I first see the number, I’m like, ‘Woah that’s kind of high’ but in the next 20 minutes I’ll forget about it until I get the notification that my screen time has been calculated.

“It does bother me that it’s high, but I’ve accepted it, I don’t think I’m on my phone that much, but I guess it could be lower if I really tried.

“Maybe if I suffered from headaches or felt I’d wasted my day on my phone then I’d try and reduce it, but I feel like the time I spend on my phone is mostly talking to friends which isn’t a bad thing, especially during lockdown as it’s the only way I can speak to them.”

Khrista Davis, 21, a journalism student at De Montfort University, said: “My screen time is 10 hours and that is actually really, really bad. I’m not happy with that.

“Sometimes you’ll be scrolling through Instagram and then two hours later you’re still on Instagram, sometimes we don’t even catch ourselves.

“I was doing really well at one point, I put a limit on my apps for three hours max so I wouldn’t try to go over that, but you just dismiss it like an alarm.

“Social media is like a drug that people take in daily so I feel it’s just a pattern people repeat over and over again, just because it’s something they’re used to.”

DMU to hold creative arts events to celebrate International Women’s Day

By Khrista Davis

De Montfort University will be welcoming students and the public to creative arts events to help mark International Women’s Day on Monday(MAR8) and to highlight the struggles women have had and how they overcome them.

The two events have been organised by the Sangeeta Foundation, which raises awareness about mental health through music and the arts, together with Senior Lecturer in Public Relations at DMU, Indrani Lahiri.

Both events will be held online, the first on Sunday, followed by the second on Monday.

The Light Within will be the first event, from 4 to 5pm on Sunday with a panel discussion that looks into the hurdles the panel members have come across and how they remained resilient.

Dr Lahiri said: “We have been planning this for the last year with the Sanjeeta Foundation. We have been working together and trying to look into different kinds of areas, such as mental health.

“We wanted to talk about the struggles that women have encountered and how they face those challenges and basically wanted to get an inside story of the women who work in an industry.

“IWD is more about celebrating the histories of women, womanhood and reminding ourselves that we can do more. As women it is important to recognise that we have got some barriers and restrictions, but that we need to be flexible within ourselves on how much we can do to overcome them.”

The second event, being held on International Women’s Day, aims to help participants ‘stay resilient with creative arts media and performances’ and will include two workshops, on Improvisation and Wellness from 2 to 3pm and on Arts and Media from 3 to 4pm. Both focus on mental wellbeing and on resilience – two things that are important for women to grasp.

Faculty Projects Officer, Sarah Lewis, said: “IWD is a great opportunity to promote, celebrate and give visibility to the great women in our society, although it’s important to remember to celebrate and recognise women throughout the year and not just on the 8th of March. This year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge which is an important message to share.

“We are spreading the word about the event via email to staff and students and on our DMU Event Calendar.”

The Sunday event will be hosted by green and social activist Shahanshah Mirza, and the panel will include Payal Nath, co-founder of Kadam (a society for rural livelihoods via crafts) and Kadam-Haat (a social enterprise for creating rural sustainable income via crafts), and Piloo Vidyarthi, Versatile Theatre personality, actor and musician.

Also on the panel will be diversity, disabilities and domestic abuse campaigner Marta Paszkowska, who said: “I was brought up in Poland where International Women’s Day was celebrated and still is. Every year men, boys, fathers, brothers and uncles send a little flower to each of the girls important to them. Now it can be replaced by a single text but we still do it.

“Women get best wishes from top politicians and even there is some legacy of communism agenda of equality in it. I think it is a quite positive message raising awareness of women’s role in a modern world.

“The longer I live abroad, this nice feeling of being important at least for one day fades away. I do miss it a lot here where I live. I am strongly against any communism agenda in a political field but I must say, we can give socialists and communists some credit for this only single thing, the rest of their agenda should be definitely ignored.

“The Light Within to me means resilience and getting your biggest dreams come true. Just like my parents used to tell me when I was a little girl: You can do it, Maya!”

For more information or to register for the event, contact sarah.lewis@dmu.ac.uk or go to https://www.facebook.com/events/1346457865754356.

‘I saw people die from starvation on the boat around me. We had to throw them overboard’

Rohingya refugee Imran Mohammed fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar only to find himself in grave danger at sea. He tells Salma Ouaguira Abir about his perilous journey from persecution to safety

Drifting on a small fishing boat crammed with desperate refugees, Imran Mohammed has been at sea for 15 days. The smugglers abandoned him and hundreds of people with the false promise of a safer life.

The waves unceasingly whip the sides of the boat like tentacles. They are barely afloat. With no food or water, they hope to reach the Malaysian coast. In the middle of the desolate night, Imran feels closer to death than to any land. “I saw people dead out of starvation around me. We just threw them overboard,” he says. 

The people on this boat, and the ones tossed into the sea, are Rohingya refugees, one of the most persecuted ethnic minorities in the world. They are floating in a limbo of uncertainty. Rejected by the nation they call home and unwanted in neighbouring countries they embark on deadly routes to find a country that welcomes them. “We escape a terrible life in Myanmar and we arrive at no-man’s land. We make these journeys to find a permanent solution to our lives,” says Imran Mohammed, 24.

Imran was only 16 when he left his home in Myanmar – formerly known as Burma. He has witnessed years of systematic ethnic cleansing at the hands of military forces that prompted thousands of Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh. The government refuses to offer the Muslim Rohingyas citizenship, turning them stateless people.

Condemned to live in the shadows of society, their lack of nationality makes them illegal in their own country. “Back home, if we can’t go to school, we don’t have healthcare and we can’t leave our village what else can we do?” he says. “We want to live, we want to be human,” and that comes at a high cost for the Rohingya people, the cost of their own lives.

Their constant fear pushes them to pay high prices to smugglers to escape the violence. “I saw people being killed. I saw with open eyes how the military raped Rohingya women. Their parents couldn’t do anything. If they said something, they would be taken away not knowing whether they would come back,” Imran says.

More than nine years have passed since Imran last saw his family. Now settled in Chicago, he remembers with sadness the last fleeting moments with them. In a small village in the Rakhine state, the Myanmar authorities came unexpectedly and threatened Imran’s family. His father used to pay the military to ensure their safety. “One day the authorities came to our home and we had no money. My father feared for our lives and asked us to leave,” he says.

Imran, the second child of four, was the first to escape to Bangladesh. Not knowing what the uncertain future held, he hoped to join his family. “We went into different directions. We had nothing but a piece of cloth on us. I have nothing from my homeland except my memories and many of them are failing,” he says. “I didn’t have the opportunity to say goodbye and it still breaks my heart.”

He clings tight to the treasured moments of happiness with his mother. He tenderly remembers the mornings in which he could still tuck himself in her comfort. Imran read the Quran and his mother sat next to him. They watched the sunrise and prayed together. They prayed for a safer life. For a future that could lighten their lives.

That ray of hope kept him faithful during his whole journey. After being rescued in Malaysia, Imran spent five months wandering the streets. His illegal status only opened him the doors to precarious hard labour and the constant fear of being arrested. The desperation forced him to venture into the perilous sea once again to reach Indonesia.

When Imran and other refugees stepped into the mainland, they were detained by the Indonesian authorities. Only a cold cement bed was reserved for them at the detention centre for illegal immigrants in Manado. “We were treated like animals. The first day in the camp, they confiscated everything we had and searched us. We didn’t have contact with the rest of the world. They locked us up for two years,” he says.

“It was very depressing because we didn’t commit any crime. We didn’t have a date of release. We had no idea about our future,” he says. “We were only allowed to go to the garden. It was a beautiful garden outside the camp. But it was surrounded by a fence.”

After receiving his refugee status, Imran could stay in Indonesia but would never become a citizen. “I wasn’t allowed to leave the city. If I went to another city, I would lose my status and go to prison again,” he says.

The danger of being abandoned in the margins of society due to his statelessness forced him to flee further away. Imran decided to go to Australia. But he ended up in the hands of the inhumanity of the smugglers when he desperately wanted to find a boat. “They promised to give us food, water and safety equipment. Nothing was there except people,” he says. “Luckily, just before our boat sank, the Australian navy saved our lives.”

But the same country that healed their wounds was troubling their journey. The same people that saved them from the sea didn’t want them in their land. The Australian navy took Imran Mohammad and other refugees to the offshore detention centre in Papua New Guinea. “They took me to Manus Island and imprisoned me for five years. I lost my childhood. I left my homeland hoping to have the chance to live decently but that wasn’t the case,” Imran says.

Waiting for someone in the world to give him human rights, he found salvation in writing. “When I started writing my world changed. I had a purpose every morning to wake up. It was writing that saved me every day.”  he says. “I used to write 14 hours a day and sometimes I forgot to eat. I left the detention centre with 15 kilos of paper.”

When Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled the detention centre in Manus Island as unconstitutional, the Australian authorities sent Imran Mohammad and hundreds of other refugees to the US. A document confirming his refugee status and a flight ticket became the first glimpse of possible freedom.

“Before arriving in the US, I didn’t even know it existed. I didn’t know where it was on the map. I didn’t even have a map during my whole life.” he says. Imran arrived in Chicago in 2018. Since his sombre days in Manus Island, he hasn’t stopped writing. The new country has given him for the first time an opportunity to study. “I completed my high school diploma in nine months. I want to become a human rights lawyer. I want to be a voice for other people,” he says.

Imran radiates hope and ambition when he talks about his future. His eyes light up as he remembers the happiest day since the beginning of his journey to safe land. “When I arrived at the airport, a customs officer said to me: ‘Welcome to America’. I was pleased to hear those words. That’s all I wanted to hear from this world,” Imran says.

Leicester woman raises almost £15,000 for hospice in memory of late mother

By Jessica Smith

The Easter facemasks (pictured) make us very egg-cited!

A fund-raising wizard from Countesthorpe, who turned to making face masks in lockdown, has raised an amazing £14, 000 for LOROS charity, Leicester, a hospice who helped care for her late mother.

Carol Hanna, 59, who has already appeared on BBC East Midlands for her efforts, has been working hard during the country’s lockdown to raise money for the charity, LOROS Hospice, which supported her mother, Marjorie Johnson, who passed away of cancer in 2019.

After previously raising money through other fundraising, including a mud-run completed by future son-in-law Ryan, the imposing lockdown restrictions saw Carol turn to her sewing machine.

Priced at £2 each and advertised on Facebook and by word of mouth, she has been able sell her over 5,000 homemade face masks, to give back to the charity that helped in the final moments of her mother’s life.

Showing no signs of stopping, Carol said: “Hopefully we won’t be wearing masks for ever and when the time comes, I’ll simply raise money for the charity in other ways.

“I’m sure whatever I do in the future my family and future son-in-law Ryan will support me as they do now. The charity is very close to my heart.”

LOROS provides care to over 2,500 people across Leicestershire every year for terminally ill adult patients, their family, and careers.

Carol was able to combine her admiration for the charity’s workers who she’s described as “angels without wings,” and the need for supplies during this pandemic.

Carol’s work has been described as “essential” by LOROS, which have announced it is facing loses of up to £3 million, due to the impact of COVID-19.

With plenty of masks available, for all age groups, Mrs Hanna looks set to reach her next goal of £15, 000 imminently.

All profits from the masks are donated to the charity, and orders can be made via Facebook.

Review: Deranged twists of ‘Behind Her Eyes’ create a hit series

Review by Bintou Secka of 2021 Netflix tv show Behind Her Eyes


The plot of the tv show begins with an introduction to a black British woman named Louise, who lives in London alone in a two bedroom apartment with her son Adam.

From the opening scene the writer makes the viewers aware of the unconditional love Louise has for her son, in fact we get a sense that it is the only thing she cares deeply about.

We are reminded of her unconditional love for her son in the last episode, when we get all the clarity we need, although our minds are still left puzzled.

As viewers we learn a bit about Louise’s character through the six episodes, firstly we are made aware that she has been divorced from her son’s father for three years. However we get a sense that she has not fully moved on with her life, partly from the fact that she is not romantically involved with anyone and is not being open to new people.

However it did not take long for this to change, it only took a dysfunctional married couple to come into her life and change all of that. From our first glimpse at the couple, Adele and David, we get a very strange sense from them, with no knowledge of who they are, we get a clarity that there is something awfully wrong there.


Sarah Pinborough has done an amazing job at creating a tv show that has been the talk of the town, after only a few days this show has managed to land itself on top ten shows on Netflix and as the days go by it gets closer and closer to hitting number one.

From the selection of characters to acting skills, story line, plot, it was all on point. This is the one tv show that everyone can agree the ending got us all thinking WHATT!!!.

Throughout the six episodes there was so much uncertainty, as viewers we were always guessing or eager to find out more, and in that sense Pinborough did an amazing job at finding a way to keep viewers watching.

One detail that deserves to be applauded for this tv show is the fact that it has been set in the most realistic setting, a single mum living in a small apartment somewhere in London with an ordinary life.

And then on the other hand we have a filthy rich couple with a whole lot of secrets buried somewhere. Pinborough has done an amazing job at giving us a balance between reality and fiction.She began with introducing us to Louise, a woman the viewers are familiar with, we all know someone who is like Louise, but then on the other spectrum we have Adele, someone who has some kind of power to control her dreams and make herself appear in places without being seen.

In terms of engagement this tv show definitely did not lack in that department, we witnessed some romance between Louise and David, we witnessed betrayal from David to his wife, but also from Louise as she is meant to be Adele’s best friend but at the same time she is sleeping with her husband behind her back.

In terms of the characters, Louise is portrayed to be a good mum, selfless, funny, real. Adele is presented as a lonely stay-home wife, who is controlled by her husband, unhappy in most aspects and deeply in love with her husband.

And lastly David, from the first time the viewers acknowledged that he was married we got a sense that he was unhappy in his marriage, we later on find out that it’s not that he doesn’t want to leave his wife but he can’t.