What is Nomophobia? Don’t Be A Servant of Your Phone

Nomophobia is a satirical term for the anxiety or distress induced by not getting a working cell phone (short for no mobile phobia). A condition or syndrome of dysfunctional digital media use in mental wellbeing, the meanings of which are not standardized, has been considered. In this article, we will give some information about nomophobia.

It’s no surprise that Americans love smartphones. According to a study, 90% of the population has mobile phones, while 58% have smartphones.

But the most surprising thing is the ones who are psychologically attached. We call this nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia) Also, psychologists say every year it gets worse.

Is nomophobia an important disorder?

It’s typically used as a joke term among young people who can’t stop checking their phones or who are always looking down at them while walking. However, there are some studies that show nomophobia may be more than just a passing trend; in fact, it could actually be classified as an addiction to technology.

Some of the symptoms are panicking, feeling nervous, not being able to focus without a smartphone.

According to Assistant Professor David Greenfield, the state of psychological attachment to your smartphone is similar to other addictions. Because it involves dopamine imbalance. It increases dopamine levels, automatically motivates people to do what they think will be rewarded.

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates the reward system in the brain.

what is nomophobia
what is nomophobia

Greenfield’s Work

Greenfield has established the Help Center for Internet and Technology Addicts to help those constantly in touch with their mobile phones and contribute to a more balanced life for these people.

According to Greenfield, each notification to your mobile phone, such as an e-mail, text message, causes a slight increase in dopamine level. And it makes the person feel better, attracting them. This causes the phones to be irresistible and addictive. So it’s kind of the smallest gambling machine in the world.

In a national survey conducted by Harris Interactive in autumn 2013, 63% of respondents said they checked their phones on an average hourly basis, while 9% said they repeated it every 5 minutes.

Besides, 63% said they would upset them if they forgot their smartphone at home. He added that even if most of the participants left home for a very short grocery shopping, they would go back to their homes and get their phones.

In a survey by the Huffington Post and YouGov, 64% of respondents aged 18-29 said they had fallen asleep on their beds by mobile phone or tablet.

Despite all this data, you may not have heard much about nomophobia; because most people who suffer from this situation have not even realized that they have a problem.

what is nomophobia? don't be a servant of your phone 1
Source Photo: @anabeatriz11

Additional Research

Nicola Luigi Bragazzi and Giovanni Del Puente from the University of Genoa stated in their written proposal to DSM: “It is undeniable that it allows us to do our jobs much faster and more efficiently. On the other hand, mobile devices can have a dangerous impact on human health. Further research is needed beyond the current academic and scientific studies to investigate the psychological aspects further and provide a standard and operational definition.”

Greenfield says nomophobia is a small subset of a much bigger problem, such as Internet Addiction. “The smartphone is actually the access point to the internet that makes it much easier to use. According to my research, ease of access and being portable makes smartphones twice as addictive as their alternatives. Convenience is one of the main causes of addiction, the faster you respond via technology, the faster you become affected.”

You can also get the feeling of being an important person who doesn’t really have much money just because you receive tons of likes on your Twitter and Instagram shares.

In China, Internet-addicted young people are often sent to military camps. They face intensive training in military discipline to free themselves from dependence.

According to Greenfield and Archer, the treatment of nomophobia does not always require such extreme measures.

Greenfield recommends installing it in an app like Menthal, which records how much time you spend with your phone every day. Many people lose the notion of time when dealing with these mobile devices, which affects the brain in the same way as addictive substances.

According to Archer, it is important that you set certain rules when using a smartphone. For example, when to make a phone call, when to stop texting, do not keep your mobile phone with you when you go to the bathroom or toilet, do not use your mobile phone when you are with friends or family. It’s all about simple rules you can follow.

Nomophobia (Smart Phone Addiction): A Rising Trend Among Students

There is no doubt that nomophobia is an increasing problem in today’s world. It is an emerging phobia in today’s high school and university students. An increasing number of university students cannot stay apart from their phones, even when taking a shower. The average teen is willing to lose his pinky finger than a cell phone. More and more young people prefer sending text messages or twisting rather than talking face to face.

Nomophobia exists in every aspect of life in developed countries. In a 2010 study, the term was derived from the British Post Office by shortening the words “no-mobile-phone phobia.” The UK Postal Office has commissioned a research agency called YouGov to investigate the fears and concerns mobile phone users are exposed to. This study revealed that approximately 53% of mobile phone users in the UK felt worried about losing their phones.

The same study revealed that 58% of men and 47% of women had nomophobia and 9% felt stressed when their phones were off. This study included a total of 2163 individuals. 55% of the respondents stated that their main concern was the loss of communication with friends or family when they could not use their mobile phones. In the same study, it was emphasized that the stress level experienced by an average case of nomophobia was almost equal to the stress experienced on the day of the wedding when someone went to the dentist or married.

The situation in the US is even worse…

65% of people, or 2 out of every 3 people, have mobile phones with them at bedtime (a higher rate among university students). 34% of them, even at very special moments with their spouses, confessed to answering their mobile phones. More than half said he never turned off his cell phones (that is often called an addiction).

Exactly 66% of adults suffer from nomophobia.

It’s time to say stop

If I realize that I need something stronger in my daily life, I always review my lifestyle and my health. It may sound a little crazy to you, but it’s one of my basic rules not to let anything control me. Apart from food, water, and shelter, I always avoid addictive things that will direct my actions and even dictate a new lifestyle. This includes technology. I am aware that mobile phones, tablets, computers, and other future technologies make my life easier and work more efficiently—my principle: “Technology must be servant, not master.” 

nomophobia and kinder
nomophobia and children

So what should we do to provide a balanced approach for the students?

At certain times of the day, make sure that your mobile phone is switched off completely. During this time, you have to set up face-to-face dialogue or spend time alone.

Try to balance the time you spend on the screen and your time on your own / with other people. Spend 1 hour with other people or yourself for every 1 hour you spend looking at the screen.

Once a month, try technology fasting for at least one day; go somewhere without a computer, phone, or tablet, for example. You will feel free.

When you lie down at night, keep the phone within 4-5 meters. When the alarm goes off, you may have to stand up to press the snooze button, but this is definitely a much safer method.

Divide your daily life into specific time intervals, the time you spend with technology, and face to face when you actually interact with people.

Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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