What is Nomophobia? The fear of being without your phone is real

In the last decade, mobile phone usage has continuously skyrocketed, especially after the introduction of smartphones. It is undeniable that these smart devices have become an important part of modern life. And because of this, a phobia known as Nomophobia is rapidly emerging.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the main causes of the increase in mobile phone use, as people were not allowed to leave their homes and had to rely on their phones for communication, entertainment and information.

And as an old proverb says “Excess of everything is bad.” This also applies to smartphones. Nomophobia affects all age groups, but has become common among adolescents.

So what exactly is nomophobia? Is it treatable? Let’s find out!

What is nomophobia?

A 2019 article in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care describes it as “NOMOPHOBIA is emerging as a threat to our “Social, mental and physical health.”

The term Nomophobia arises from NO MOBILE PHONE PhoBIA and is a psychological condition in which people experience an extreme, irrational and overwhelming fear of being left without a mobile phone.

It defines the fear that people experience when their mobile phone cannot perform the basic functions for which it is designed.

This fear can be triggered by various factors, such as lack of network signal, poor reception, dead battery, or forgetting your phone at home or at work.

People are also more likely to check their phones frequently for messages or notifications, and may have difficulty concentrating or sleeping when they are not using their phones.

It mainly affects people who rely heavily on technology for their daily activities. This phobia is not listed in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

The DSM-5 is a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that lists all mental disorders recognized by the medical community. However, there is growing evidence that nomophobia represents a mental health problem.

According to a 2016 study, it can be classified as a “Smartphone addiction disorder.” Additionally, researchers have proposed including it in the DSM-5 for many years.

Not only this, there are many terms related to Nomophobia such as:

  • Ringxiety – A common phenomenon where people feel their phone ringing or vibrating and it turns out to be a false alarm.
  • Phonoanxiety: Also known as telephobia, in which people often avoid conversations on the phone.
  • Phubbing: Refers to ignoring face-to-face conversations with other people and focusing solely on the smartphone.

When was nomophobia discovered?

The term nomophobia was first coined in 2008 by the UK Post Office, which hired British research agency YouGov to study anxiety levels in mobile phone users.

It was derived during the survey of 2,163 adults in the United Kingdom and is supposedly “The fear of losing contact with the mobile phone.” The researchers found that 53% of them experienced symptoms of nomophobia, such as anxiety, panic attacks, and difficulty concentrating when they were without their phones.

Post Office “telecommunications expert”Stewart Fox-Mills said:

“Nomophobia is too real for many people.

“We all know the stressful situations of everyday life, such as moving, breakups and organizing a family Christmas.

But it seems that being out of mobile contact may be the latest 21st century contribution to our already hectic lives.”

What are the causes of nomophobia?

The exact cause of nomophobia is unknown, however, a 2020 study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found that “Interpersonal sensitivity, obsession-compulsion, and the number of hours of smartphone use per day are strong predictors of nomophobia.”

The study also found that “Social threat is a causal pathway through which nomophobia leads to negative consequences, especially stress.”

How many people suffer from nomophobia?

A recent study conducted by Counterpoint Research in collaboration with OPPO stated that “72% of smartphone users in India experience low battery anxiety.”

The study was divided into emotions of discomfort that are experienced due to low battery anxiety and had six categories called:

  • “Worried/Anxious”
  • “Disconnected”
  • “Helpless”
  • “Fear of missing out (FOMO)”
  • “Highly strung”
  • “Insecure”

28% of respondents chose the first option, while 90% of users reported feeling a higher degree of low battery anxiety when their phone’s battery level was between 30% and 50%, compared to when it was between 0% and 30%.

The survey found that 40% of respondents use their smartphones first thing in the morning, as soon as they wake up, and the last thing before going to bed.

Additionally, 42% of respondents use their devices for entertainment, with social media being the most popular activity.

87% of respondents use their phones while charging, and two-thirds of respondents use their phones even when spending time with family or working/studying.

Research Director Tarun Pathak commented on low battery anxiety by stating “We carry our world in our pockets through smartphones. From entertainment to official work and connecting with other people, our smartphones run almost everything for us.

“As a result, people have developed a phobia of not being able to use their phones. Furthermore, since social media is the main activity that smartphones are used for, people are afraid of missing out on things around them.

“That’s why most people keep looking for charging opportunities and end up feeling anxious and worried about the thought of running out of battery and not being able to use their smartphones. The feeling of anxiety due to low battery is highest in the working age group of 31 to 40 years, followed by the age group of 25 to 30 years.

Senior analyst Arushi Chawla said “NoMoPhobia has made people decide their charging patterns accordingly. It is interesting to note that most people rely on the device’s built-in options such as power saving mode to ensure longer battery life on a daily basis.

“Furthermore, given the dependency people have on their phones, many (65%) limit their phone use to save battery at more crucial times, while 82% reduce the use of social media apps such as Instagram, LinkedIn , Twitter and Facebook to save battery.

“Therefore, the battery is a key purchasing factor when purchasing a smartphone. “60% of respondents are likely to replace their current smartphone to get better battery performance.”

What are the symptoms of nomophobia?

Nomophobia causes stress and here are some symptoms that may indicate the signs of the phobia:

Anxiety: People with nomophobia may feel anxious, restless, or irritable when they cannot use their phones.

Stress: People with nomophobia may feel stressed, worried, or overwhelmed when they can’t use their phones.

Irritability: People with nomophobia may become easily irritated or upset when they cannot use their phones.

Physical symptoms: People with nomophobia may experience physical symptoms such as sweating, tremors, and tachycardia when they cannot use their phones.

What are the ways to prevent nomophobia?

Nomophobia, or the fear of being without a mobile phone, is not a medical condition. However, it can be prevented by following some detox strategies. And people in the US are also trying to limit their screen time.

According to CNBC, foldable phone sales saw a huge surge in 2022, with tens of thousands sold each month. At the same time, HMD’s global feature phone sales declined, according to the company.

Generation Z is going back to using high-end dumb phones just to minimize their screen time.

Apart from that, you can follow these simple steps to reduce the risks of nomophobia:

  • Set limits on mobile phone use
  • Find other activities to occupy your time.
  • Be aware of your phone use

Categories: Optical Illusion
Source: ptivs2.edu.vn

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