Nomophobia - fear of being out of mobile phone contact
In my last post I discussed mobile device use creating an anti-social society. Here I look at how excessive mobile phone use causes anxiety. We've all been there at some point..the feeling in that horrifying moment when you realize you don't have your phone on you. Did I lose it? Is it just at home? I hope no one's trying to contact me. What do I need to do today? Am I forgetting anything else? and the list go on and on. Feeling lost and out of contact with the world is extremely uncomfortable. It's interesting to think how quickly we have become completely dependent on our phones. Despite only having a smartphone for 3 years, my life truly does revolve around my phone; I'm hooked. Lookout conducted a survey detailed below:
87% of respondents described themselves as either panicked or desperate. While some of this negative emotion is due to the costliness of smartphones and the daunting prospect of having to purchase a new one (god forbid out of contract), I believe a disproportionate amount is caused merely from being disconnected and unreachable. In a similar survey conducted by OnePoll in the U.K., they found that 66% of the 1000 respondents fear losing or being without their mobile phones. Not very surprising, they also found that the younger age groups were more likely to be nomophobic: 77% of ages 18-24, 68% of ages 25-34. This fear of being out of contact from the "world" causes people to disregard social norms, potentially with disastrous consequences.
A similar poll by Lookout asked people the various times people check their phones, dividing the results by age group. Again, I find myself guilty of ALL of these infractions. Very scary to me, however, is the fact that 24% of respondents admit to checking their phones while driving (32% of ages 18-44). A couple facts from the National Security Council:
1) Cell phone use is a factor in nearly 1 in 4 crashes.
2) In 2009, 5,474 people were killed and an estimated 448,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving cell phone distracted driving.
Another deadly example of the link between nomophobia and mobile phone use while driving is the Chatsworth train collision. The accident killed 25 passengers. Investigators discovered that the train engineer was texting while operating the train.
Mobile phones have undoubtedly been very beneficial to our lives in many different forms, but will we allow ourselves to fall victim to them...to die for them?