By: Carol Maxym, PhD.
Nomophobia is the fear of being without a mobile phone because you left at home, lost it, misplaced it, or simply forgot to charge it.
As a psychologist with over 25 years of experience in therapeutic placement and substance abuse treatment, I know that kids who go into wilderness treatment and have no access to electronics tend to calm down, become more lucid, and are better able to focus. Their relationships improve and they become better at building new ones.
Is Multitasking How We Assess Our Performance?
Today, using your phone almost inherently implies multitasking. Whether texting or reading emails while talking, walking and talking, shopping and talking, texting and commuting, we seem to feel better about our performance when we’re doing a lot of things- even better when we’re doing a lot of things at once. Mobile phones gives us that opportunity.
Searching for a Moment of Pseudo Solitude
If you’ve even been in an elevator, you’ll notice that most people will be looking at their phones: reading emails, playing Candy Crush, texting, searching, and catching up on Social Media. Are these people avoiding the possibility of an uncomfortable elevator conversation or actually doing something?
Is being on your phone a way to have a moment of pseudo solitude? You’re probably wondering what the people around you may be thinking:
Kids, for instance, often ground their identity on the type of phone they have. There’s an unspoken competition to get the latest iPhone, the hottest Samsung, or the newest LG- and adults are not immune for the most part either.
What actually happens if you don’t have your phone for a day?
Is Nomophobia Real?
Nomophobia is another one of the multitude of made up disorders that can be used as excuses. It’s a pseudo explanation that excuses behavior, rudeness, or a lack of courtesy. Perhaps, there’s already someone at Big Pharma experimenting with a “medication” for this made up disorder. Or, maybe you’re worried that someone who is trying to reach you is thinking something bad has happened to you if you don’t immediately respond. So much of this is anxiety, but there was a time before mobile phones when people seemed to manage just fine.
If you’re worried that you forget your phone or lost it, just remember that there are a lot of worse things than being phoneless such as:
Imagine a day where everyone left his or her phone at home (on purpose).
Could we even function as a nation?
What would be some of the benefits?
Sure, being on your phone can make you feel productive and even important, but it’s no substitute for participating in the world around you. And, if you look up articles about nomophobia, you’ll probably come across the published by Scientific American magazine; unfortunately, the author isn’t particularly educated on this issues.
It makes you wonder, who’s behind this new phenomenon? Apple or Android- afraid that they can’t sell enough phones? Their competitors?
Phones are increasingly replacing memory. Is that something we like and plan to stick with? Could you leave your phone at home for a week?