Nomophobia Is A Fear Of Being Without Our Phone, And We've All Probably Got It
The other day, shortly after I’d left the house, I realized I’d forgotten my phone. Instantly, panic bubbled up. “Shit, you guys!” I shouted to my kids. “Where the fuck is my phone?”
Since I was driving, my panicked search was pretty much limited to my right hand just slapping things in the middle console.
“HELP!” I pleaded. “We’ve gotta go back home if we can’t find it!”
Of course, we were already late — because we’re always late for something — so a detour back home for my phone would have been catastrophic. But not nearly as catastrophic as being out and about without my phone.
Eventually we found my phone. It was — shocker of all shockers — in my purse. I wiped the sweat from my forehead, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief and said a few prayers of thanks, and we carried on.
Sure, this might be a teensy bit of an exaggeration… but not much. Because dammit, that’s how I felt inside. Like the world might literally end if I didn’t have my phone for 30 goddamn minutes.
Nomophobia — which is an abbreviation for no mobile phone phobia — is, obviously, the fear of being without your cell phone. You can feel it when you realize you forgot your phone or when you enter a dead zone…
…or when your battery is at 4% and you can’t find a charger.
The struggle is real…
Because this is pretty much our worst fear…
It sounds silly, but my friends, nomophobia is very real. So real, in fact, that it was named Cambridge Dictionary’s “Word Of The Year” in 2018. So real that more than half of us have it — and it’s getting worse.
While phobias are no laughing matter, this one is particularly depressing and seemingly trite. According to an article in Psychology Today, a study found that 34% of respondents admitted to answering their cell phone during intimacy with their partner, one in five people would rather go without shoes for a week than take a break from their phone, and 65% of people sleep with or next to their smart phones (guilty).
As pathetic as my “no phone for 30 minutes” freak out was, the thing that really motivated me to make some changes was witnessing my son’s use of his cell phone. Seeing how dependent on it he is on it sometimes, and how frustrating it can be when he can’t be without it, made me realize that… well, I’m a hypocrite.
So we all embarked to change our cell phone habits. First, I keep my phone almost exclusively on vibrate so I don’t because trained to respond to the dings and beeps like one of Pavlov’s dogs. I leave my phone in another room when I’m not working. We’ve put time limits on certain apps and texting on my son’s phone. And I’m taking a closer look at why I feel so dependent on my phone in the first place.
Phone addiction and nomophobia is very real, as silly and FWP as it sounds. It not only impacts my relationships but my mental health.
So I’ll keep working on it. I’ll keep practicing by voluntarily “forgetting” my phone. And I let the battery run low, super low. I don’t want to be dependent on a tiny electronic device and I don’t want to instill that kind of mentality in my kids either.
Because at the end of the day, I really don’t want to ever let it get to this.
I’m guessing none of us do.
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