Are you suffering from this form of separation anxiety? Probably.
Do you feel anxious when you don’t have your cell phone with you? Do you find yourself compulsively checking your phone for new notifications all day long? Is your phone the first thing you check when you wake up in the morning? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re probably suffering from what’s known as nomophobia.
What’s nomophobia? Nomophobia stands for “no-mobile-phone phobia.” It’s the irrational fear of being without your cell phone or losing your signal. If that sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
A recent survey shows that 66% of smart phone users suffer from nomophoia, which makes it the biggest phobia in the world. This isn’t too surprising if you consider how pervasive cell phones are in our lives nowadays.
Here’s some other findings regarding cell phone users:
- 58% don’t go 1 hour without checking their phones
- 66% sleep next to their phones at night.
- 39% check their phones in the bathroom
- 30% look at their phones during meals
- 24% use their phones while driving
These statistics shouldn’t surprise anyone. Cell phones are the most convenient piece of technology we use in our day to day lives. They allow us to stay connected, get information, and stave boredom. What could be the downside?
Well, aside from the obvious separation anxiety, there are some other drawbacks to be aware of. Piercarlo Valdesolo, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Claremont McKenna College, points out that research on transactive memory shows that “when we have reliable external sources of information about particular topics at our disposal, then this reduces our motivation and ability to acquire and retain knowledge about that particular topic.” Simply put, having our phones do all the thinking for us is making us dumb.
Other obvious downsides are apparent all around us. We see it at social gathering where people are checking their phones rather than having a conversation, or at the movies where you’re likely to see someone texting rather than looking at the screen.
It’s important to be mindful of the effect our phones are having on us. It might even be a good idea to take a break from your phone every now and then. And if you have an especially bad case of nomophobia, you shouldn’t be ashamed to get some help because you’re certainly not alone.