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The Nomophobic Generation

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As per study, 61% of people do check their smartphones after awakening in the morning.

NOMOPHOBIA or NO MObile PHone PhoBIA is used to describe a psychological condition when people have a fear of being detached from mobile phone connectivity. The term “NomoPhobia” was coined during a 2008 study by the UK Post Office who commissioned, YouGov, a UK-based research organization, to evaluate 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, sampled 2,163 people, found that about 58% of men and 47% of women suffer from a phobia, and an additional 9% feel stressed when their mobile phones are off. 55% 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 jitters” and trips to the dentist.

Many of us are not going to achieve our goals and aspirations for the year not because we do not want to achieve those goals, but we have a tool that might hinder our progress, “The Mobile Phone.” The average adult is said to pick up their phones on average 150 times per day and in some cases 15 times per hour. The Mobile phone, just like any other tool, is beginning to control us; we want the dopamine rush of the algorithm-powered social media validation (Reshares, Likes, Retweets, Thumbs up). It is not easy to see how this can be hindering our progress, as we use our phones to stay in touch, get business contact and become better citizens.

Most people spend about 1 minute and 15 seconds on their phone each time they pick them up. This means we’re losing 37.5 minutes a day during working hours to our phones (at a minimum).

The mobile phone is one of the best innovations of the 21st century, and it has brought the world a lot of joy as we are better able to communicate with each other. But the mobile phone is making a lot of us become zombies as we are controlled by the gadget and not us controlling it. The unintended consequence of nomophobia is low self-esteem, distracted driving, addiction to social media, and not paying attention to what really matters.

 In 1983, the first mobile phone was introduced in the market, now a days these instruments have become lifeline in most of the societies

According to Bianchi and Philips (2005) psychological factors are involved in the overuse of a mobile phone. These could include low self-esteem (when individuals looking for reassurance use the mobile phone in inappropriate ways) and extroverted personality (when naturally social individuals use the mobile phone to excess). 

One in four teens believe they could go a month or more without using a computer

Are you a nomophobe? 

Smartphones are a great way to stay connected with family and friends. But what if you suddenly lost that connection? A new Iowa State University study identifies the dimensions of nomophobia to help you determine if you suffer from it.

ISU researchers have developed a questionnaire to help you determine if you suffer from nomophobia or a fear of being without your mobile phone. 

Caglar Yildirim, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. student in human computer interaction, and Ana-Paula Correia, an associate professor in ISU’s School of Education, identified four dimensions of this modern-day phobia. The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

Nomophobia Questionnaire  

Study participants were asked to respond to the following statements on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Total scores were calculated by adding the responses to each item. The higher scores corresponded to greater nomophobia severity.   

  1. I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
  2. I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.
  3. Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
  4. I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so.
  5. Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
  6. If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
  7. If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.
  8. If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
  9. If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it.    

If I did not have my smartphone with me:

  1. I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
  2. I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.
  3. I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.
  4. I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends.
  5. I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me.
  6. I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken.
  7. I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
  8. I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks.
  9. I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks.
  10. I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages.
  11. I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.

According to a Psychology Today article, nomophobia is a rising trend among students. Here are some stats about nomophobia:

  1. Sixty-five percent, or about two in three people, sleep with or next to their smartphones. (Among college students, it’s even higher.)
  2. Thirty-four percent admitted to answering their cell phone during intimacy with their partner.
  3. One in five people would rather go without shoes for a week than take a break from their phone.
  4. More than half never switch off their phone.
  5. A full 66 percent of all adults suffer from “nomophobia.”

We are getting Addicted

According to Shambare et al. (2012), cell phones are “possibly the biggest non-drug addiction of the 21st century”. Now a day’s college students are spending more than 9 hours per day on their mobile phones, which leads to addiction. It is an example of “a paradox of technology” having both the property of freeing and enslaving. Freeing from the real world and enslaving to the virtual world.

Affecting Academic Performance

According to a study by Andrew Lepp et al (2014), which appeared in Computers in Human behaviour journal: “The relationship between cell phone use, academic performance, anxiety, and Satisfaction with Life in college students”

It was been observed among students that low-grade point average (GPA) and increased anxiety levels are correlated with frequent cell phone usage. The decrease in GPA among students may be due to distraction by the over-usage of mobile phones during class. Pressure for continually being connected to social (virtual) networks may increase anxiety as it leaves no time for relieving daily stress during solitude, which is an essential component of our well-being.

The Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project suggests that college students are the most rapid adopters of cell phone technology and research is emerging which suggests high-frequency cell phone use may be influencing their health and behavior.

It is a cause of death

It’s estimated that at least 23% of all car accidents each year involve cell phone use – that’s 1.3 million crashes.

Smartphones have made it easy for us to stay connected at all times. But that can pose serious safety risks if someone decides to check his or her text messages, emails, phone calls, or any other mobile applications while driving.

Cell phone distraction rates are alarmingly high. Here are some statistics on the effect of texting and driving:

General Cell Phone Statistics

  • The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
  • Nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving.
  • 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
  • Texting while driving is 6x more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
  • Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.
  • Texting while driving causes a 400 percent increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
  • Of all cell phone related tasks, texting is by far the most dangerous activity.
  • 94 percent of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
  • 74 percent of drivers support a ban on hand-held cell phone use.

Teen Driver Cell Phone Statistics

  • According to a AAA poll, 94 percent of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% admitted to doing it anyway.
  • 21 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones.
  • Teen drivers are 4x more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near-crashes when talking or texting on a cell phone.
  • A teen driver with only one additional passenger doubles the risk of getting into a fatal car accident. With two or more passengers, they are 5x as likely.

In her book, You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters , Journalist  Kate Murphy writes about our addiction to distraction:

“There was a time when, during idle or anxious moments, people reached for a cigarette. They lit up while fretting over a problem, drinking a cup of coffee, waiting on a friend, driving a car, mingling at a party, and unwinding after sex. Now, in those same situations, people just as reflexively reach for their phones. Like smokers nervously patting their pockets for cigarettes, people get jittery without their phones. Indeed, mental health experts say device dependency has many of the same behavioral, psychological, and neurobiological components as substance abuse.”

“While our smartphones may not allow us to have a decent conversation (“Can you hear me now? How about now?”), they seem to offer us just about everything else—social media, games, news, maps, recipes, videos, music, movies, podcasts, shopping, and pornography, if you’re so inclined. In the end, none of it is as emotionally satisfying or as essential to our well-being as connecting with a live human being. And yet, like any addict, we keep tapping, scrolling, and swiping as if pulling a lever on a slot machine, hoping to eventually hit the jackpot.”

“This compulsion, driven by a fear of missing out, prevents sustained attention, making listening—or any task requiring thought—difficult. It’s hard to concentrate on what’s happening in the real world when you’re preoccupied with what could be happening in the virtual one”

“Experts have raised concerns that we are even losing our ability to daydream, as fantasizing, too, requires some level of attention. Many of the greatest advances in science and arts and letters have come by way of daydreaming. Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, T. S. Eliot, and Lewis Carroll all attributed their genius to long periods of uninterrupted musing.”

Could you put away your phone for an hour? A half-hour? Five minutes?

The mobile phone can be a force for good and can also have unintended consequences such as low self-esteem, addiction, accidents, and even death. Here are some strategies to help you tackle your over-dependence on your phone; at

least I have tried a lot of them, and I can confirm it worked for me:

  • Don’t pick your phone up first thing in the morning (Try Praying, Meditating, Writing in your journal, Plan your day first)
  • Delete Social Media Apps from your Phone.
  • Change twitter trends to a country you don’t understand the language.
  • Leave/Deactivate/Delete your social media accounts, if you can.
  • Activate Apple’s ScreenTime to track your phone pickups.
  • Don’t Sleep with your phone by your side.
  • Try hobbies like reading, listening to audiobooks, walking, running, among others, as a stopgap instead of always picking up your phone.

It would be hard to implement some of these strategies. Still, it would help if you were gentle and compassionate with yourself; the fear of missing out (FOMO) would be a powerful pull. Still, you have to realize that you only live once, and wasting your time mindlessly scrolling other people’s curated timeline might not be a good use of your time. You are already going to sleep 1/3rd of your life, work for another 1/3rd, and with the way a lot of us are using social media, we might be using close to another 10-13 years of our lives getting entertainment through our phones, social media, video streaming among other things. Remember, You Only Live Once, but if you live it right, one time is enough.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.