Nomophobia

nomophobia

smartphone overuse

Nomophobia (‘no-mobile-phone phobia’) is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The term was coined during a 2010 study by the UK Post Office who commissioned YouGov, a UK-based research organization to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. The study found that nearly 53% of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they ‘lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage.’ The study found that about 58% of men and 47% of women suffer from the phobia, and an additional 9% feel stressed when their mobile phones are off.

The study indicated that stress levels induced by the average case of nomophobia are similar in severity to ‘wedding day jitters’ and trips to the dentists. Ten percent of those questioned said they needed to be contactable at all times because of work. It is, however, arguable that the word ‘phobia’ is misused and that in the majority of cases it is only a normal anxiety. More than one in two nomophobes never switch off their mobile phones. The study prompted two editorial columns authored by those who minimize their mobile phone use or choose not to own one at all, treating the condition with levity or outright disbelief.

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