Technology inspired many path breaking discoveries in the last two decades. Smartphones, touch laptops, GPS, Windows 8, Windows 10, you name it! There was a time when people would cry for these and many other inventions and discoveries, but now that life has been made easy with their existence and benefits, humans are at increased risk of its side effects.
To elaborate more, imagine yourself in a situation where you have been confiscated of your smartphone? You can still communicate with your family and friends, but without the facilities of the smartphone. If the anticipation of you setting off into a frenzied zone is true, then you’re certainly a nomophobe.
A team of US researchers through a questionnaire that they have formed can establish if you have nomophobia or in simple words, afraid of staying without your mobile phone.
Caglar Yildirim, who is a PhD student at the Iowa State University (ISU) along with Ana-Paula Correia, who is an associate professor at the same university, have recognized four aspects of this phobia, which haunts the modern world.
For the study, subjects were told on retorting to several statements on the scale of 1 – strongly disagree to 7 – strongly agree.
The accumulated counts were evaluated by adding the reciprocation to each element. Therefore, the subjects that got higher counts were associated with elevated nomophobia danger.
The questionnaire contained statements like – I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone, I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so, If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network and If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it, among some others.
Alongside, the subjects were also asked to reciprocate to some more statements on the context of “not possessing their smartphone with them” like – I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends, I would be nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls, I would be nervous because I could not know if someone tried to get a hold of me, I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity, I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay-up-to date with social media and online networks, and I would feel weird because I would not know what to do, among some others.
The study has been published in the journal “Computers of Human Behavior”.
In 2005, two researchers namely Bianchi A and Phillips JG, explained through their research that excessive use of mobile phones might leave the users with extraversion and low self-esteem, though not neuroticism.
In another study, which was conducted in 2010 by UK-Post Office to analyze the anxiety levels of mobile phone users, observed that nearly 53 percent of the total 2, 163 people who were questioned, experienced uncomfort and anxiety if kept away from their smartphones. They found 47 percent of women and 53 percent of men, suffering from nomophobia along with 9 percent undergoing stress if their phones’ battery died out.
As recent as in April 2015, the Kalevala Finnish Institute for Mobile Health also conducted a study on nomophobia, and K. Siltanen, who is the chief psychologist of the research said: “All of these, how do you say in English, ‘phone nerds’, all they want is their phone. Maybe it’s all they have going for them? It’s like a baby and their bottle.”