Obsessed with Your Phone? There's a Name For You

Admit it.  You're never farther away from your smart phone than your wrist.  You eat with it right next to your plate.  You take it with you into the bathroom when you shower.  You sleep with it under your pillow (well, maybe not quite).

But it's true.  We're all obsessed with our smart phones -- and the information they provide every second.  Where is my kid now?  What happened with the market?  Pizza for dinner?.

Face it.  We can't live without them.

But now there's a name for it.  We're all nomophobes.

Say what?  It's a fear of being without your phone.

Researchers recently did a study that asked 300 undergrads some of these questions:

  • I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
  •  I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.
  • Being unable to get the news (news, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
  • Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
  • If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.
  •  If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
  • I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
The higher your score, the more nomophobic you are.  Duh.

I'm probably not the poster child for this.  I very rarely used my phone when I first had it, hardly ever charged it -- and to my friends' annoyance, often never even turn it on.  (I do admit I check my email many times throughout the day!)

I fear I've passed this on to our son.  He just started high school and when a friend asked if he had it with him so she could text him about where to meet when they get picked up by her mom, he said no.  She was quite exasperated.  (Of course, she would never forget hers -- it's always pressed to her ear).

So what does this really mean?  Not much.  Some experts are afraid we've come up with a new disease to worry about, nomophobia.  But reassuringly, it's just plain old anxiety.   We're so used to constant immediate contact, we freak a little when we're  not.

Want to know a little more?  A studyin the UK found that 53% of mobile phone users would be very anxious if they lost or couldn't find their phones.  OK.  They have me there.  But that's more because I'm terrified I forget anything else these days. 

Even more unbelievable?  Adolescents would rather lose their pinky finger than their cell phone.

What has made us this way?  It's tantalizing to know what's going on everywhere, every minute every day. But that can create its own anxiety.  I think I was better off when I didn't know the market had crashed 1,000 points.






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