Friday, 9 November 2012

Cant live without your phone | beware you may be a NOMOPHOBIA

A certain news article recently caught my attention. It spoke about a new phobia that’s apparently afflicting thousands around the globe. And why should you be bothered? Because the phobia in question is Nomophobia, or ‘no-mobile-phone’ phobia, which means fear of not having a mobile phone. And its symptoms? Obsessively checking your phone for updates, inability to switch it off, fear of losing it, anxiety when running out of battery or when in areas with no coverage, and many more. There are several studies that have been undertaken on this phenomenon, including one in India. A survey conducted by the developers of the Lookout app revealed that three out of five people in the U.S. could not go for more than one hour without checking their phone. While 94 percent were worried about losing their phone, it is the inconvenience of replacing the device that bothers 62 percent. Another interesting statistic was “where do people check their phone”; 54 percent revealed that they did so while in bed, 39 percent admitted to doing it in the toilet and close to 30 percent said they do it while eating. On the other hand, a recent study conducted by SecurEnvoy in the UK states that 66 percent feared losing their phone. The survey also found that 77 percent of people in the age group 18-24 found it difficult to stay away from their phone for more than few minutes. Interestingly, people on average check their phone more than 30 times a day and a staggering 75 percent admitted to using their phones in the bathroom. Closer home, a similar study being conducted by Indore-based Mahatma Gandhi Medical College’s doctors reveals that 45 percent of the respondents between 18-30 are nomophobic. They found that people used phones for at least three hours a day and 73 percent had their phones with them in bed. 12 percent of the respondents opined that they couldn’t do without mobile phones. While these statistics give us insights into mobile phone usage (or should we call it dependence?), my question is, should it be considered a phobia? In today’s day and age, a smartphone is more than just a communication device; it fulfills a lot of other needs. While researchers have supplemented their studies by citing instances of people communicating more via their phones than in person, I’d like to believe that all is not lost. As for the fear of losing a phone, I guess it extends to every gadget; more so for a phone, simply due to the fact that it holds all our contacts. Losing that data, especially when you don’t have a backup, can be a nightmare. Additionally, there is the expense of replacing the phone. Having said that, one cannot totally rule out the possibility of nomophobia, especially amongst the youth. But I would like to believe that’s it’s just a passing phase, don’t you think?


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