It seems there is a phobia for almost everything – from the more commonly known fear of confined spaces (claustrophobia) to the more unusual fears of air (anemophobia) and of mothers-in law (pentheraphobia).
According to Wikipedia, a phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation which the sufferer goes to great lengths to avoid. We all have likely experienced some phobic reaction at one time or another and it seems like more phobias are added to the list each year. The latest: nomophobia—the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.
This condition was first identified in a 2008 YouGov study commissioned by the UK Post Office and dubbed NoMoPhobia for “No Mobile Phone Phobia.”
Wikipedia reports: “The study found that nearly 53 percent 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... Fifty-five percent of those surveyed cited keeping in touch with friends or family as the main reason that they got anxious when they could not use their mobile phones. The study compared stress levels induced by the average case of nomophobia to be on-par with those of ‘wedding day jitter’ and trips to the dentists.”
So, yes, nomophobia is real. But what can you do if you’re one of the afflicted? The ability to stay connected with family, friends and colleagues is a great benefit of today’s technology. But it’s ok to sometimes just put it down.
- When you’re having dinner with your family, for example, that email or text can likely wait 20 minutes. If you get a call, let it go to voicemail.
- If your device has nighttime controls where you can shut off alerts while you sleep, use them. You’ll feel more refreshed and on top of your game after a good night’s sleep.
- Block out times during the day for non-tech activities. Engage in physical activity like walking the dog or whip up something in the kitchen for family or friends.
- As a parent of a potential nomophobe, consider various options, like Verizon’s FamilyBase, to control when and where you child can use his or her device.
Laura Merritt is a public relations manager with Verizon Wireless. Follow her on Twitter at: @VZWlaura.