I just heard the expression nomophobia, which is an abbreviation for no-mobile-phone-phobia. It may sound silly but almost everyone relies heavily on their mobile phone all day. If we aren’t calling or texting we are using our phones to catch up on oh so ‘important’ emails, posting ‘tweets’ and filling up lonely public transport time by playing on angry birds. How often do we use our phone for actual genuine emergencies? Sure, they are good for that but nomophobia isn’t about being fearful that we might get stuck somewhere miles from anyone with no means of communication. It’s more about keeping in touch.
And it’s not just how and why we use our phones but far more importantly what we have stored on our phones. The main thing people are scared of losing is their hundreds of photos and contacts. I never really bothered with photos on my phone so much before but now I have a baby I have hundreds of him that are precious. (Which reminds me I need to back those up) Our contacts are of course important too. I mean how many of us have all of our phone contacts written down in an up to date paper address book? I think mine was last updated in 2008. It’s also diary dates, apps and loads more. It will only increase as phones become more and more integrated into our daily lives but how useful is it to rely on your phone on 24/7 and could we all do with a bit of switch off time?
I had my phone stolen a couple of years ago and serious panic set in. I hadn’t backed anything up so I lost all of the information stored plus I couldn’t get in touch with anyone. It didn’t matter that I was all of 30 minutes away from home with access to several friends’ mobile phones, email, Facebook and the rest. I just felt fearful that I didn’t have mine but guess what I was just fine. I lost all my contacts but I certainly had other ways of contacting people close to me and I didn’t exactly lose touch with them because of it. The only real disaster was the cost of the replacement phone. (Not cheap!) and the time taken to get all my contacts added again. Overall it changed my relationship with my phone as not having it for a short time was a little like going cold turkey and now I can sometimes go the day without looking at my phone if it’s the weekend. I don’t feel lost without it at all but because people are so used being able to contact everyone so easily I usually find that anyone who has tried contacting me unsuccessfully that day is either worried that I’ve fallen down a hole somewhere or angry because I haven’t replied within 10 minutes. Surely a phone is about the owner’s convenience, not the whole world trying to contact them? Of course if it was an emergency they’d be able to contact my fiancé, Mum, Brother or someone else and I would sure enough get the message but invariably it’s not. Perhaps I have to send an email, tweet and txt out if I’m planning a phone free day.
How do you feel about your Mobile Phone? Would you feel lost without it? If you think you might suffer from nomophobia some of the warning symptoms are:
- The inability to turn off your mobile phone EVER.
- Obsessively checking for missed calls, emails and texts even though it’s been in your pocket the whole time.
- Constantly topping up your battery just in case disaster should strike and it dies. You most probably also have several chargers in various locations such as work, the car, your mums house.