Do you have nomophobia? What in the world is nomophobia you might be asking, as I did, but I think I may have it. We know a phobia is a fear and from the perspective of psychology, a type of anxiety. The amount of stress that fear or anxiety causes never really corresponds to the amount of danger that actually exists and so it is ultimately, irrational. So a phobia is really an irrational fear.
But Nomo…what is nomo? Nomo is an abbreviation for “no mobile phone” and the term was created after a study 4 years ago found that 53% of mobile phone users in Britain tended to be anxious when they “lost their mobile phone, ran out of battery or no longer had network coverage.” So nomophobia is the fear of being out of contact with your mobile phone! Stop now and look…do you have your phone? Did that just cause you panic?
Four years later, a similar study conducted shows that now 66% of Britains feel this same irrational fear or panic you just experienced. Do you:
- have an inability to turn off your phone?
- take your phone to the bathroom (full disclosure – I do)?
- obsessively check emails, texts, facebook, twitter, etc.?
Technological advances are certainly great but with studies showing that we check our phones on average 34 times a day, maybe we have gone a bit too far. Just Google nomophobia and see all the current news. A recent article in New York Daily News describes the issue, interviews a subject, and shows (here is a link to the article) a nomophobia assessment. What is most shocking however is a statement made by one of the people who has this fear:
“I feel like the virtual world is more real. That’s the world I want to engage in. I can’t even imagine only checking my phone once an hour. I just feel like that’s my whole universe.”
If you are concerned that you or your child has become obsessive about checking their phone and that their whole virtual universe is more real than the actual universe, do a few things:
Check your self and limit your own time on the phone (that means set the example).
Be a proactive, diligent observer of your child and their habits.
- Who is having the greater influence on your child? Media devices or you?
Don’t let your child isolate themselves from you.
As a parent, you have to honestly ask these questions if you really want to determine who is having the greater influence on your child? Media devices or you? Do you have nomophobia? Does your child? Silly as it may seem, it is reality in today’s world.
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