We’ve all heard of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), but there’s a new ridiculous social fear on the block: No-Mobile-Phone Phobia, or Nomophobia.
Nomophobia has been defined as the fear of being away from or unable to use one’s phone.
Research published by Iowa State University claims that this is a genuine fear, and that sufferers can feel separation anxiety when they are separated from their smartphone.
Caglar Yildirim, the lead researcher on the study, notes that in principal the use of smartphones is helpful, and aids communication. It only becomes a problem when it interferes with your daily routine and plays with your emotions:
“If people start relying more on their smartphones, they get used to the luxury and convenience they provide, and they simply don’t want to give them up…I was kind of shocked by the number of times people would say ‘I’d feel negative’ if I don’t have my phone today with me.”
Yildirim says that this is not an addiction, but a situational phobia. He and Ana-Paula Correia identify it as such because Nomophobia stems from a fear of losing connection rather than a compulsion.
I find this interesting because I always thought that the problem with smartphones was addiction. It certainly felt involuntary when I checked Instagram twelve times in one hour. But, perhaps I did so not because I was dying for the fix, but because I was scared that I’d miss out on something.
Does that mean that Nomophobia is a cyber-extention of FOMO?
Do you have Nomophobia? Take the survey to find out how you score.