Nomaphobia: the growing addiction to the mobile phone
Due to technological advances, social networks and the presence of the internet on practically all mobile phones, we spend many hours of the day connected to the ” smartphone “.
This causes that when we are left incommunicado, without a cell phone, we feel lost in this world dependent on new technologies.
Mobile Phone Addiction: Causes and Symptoms
Although the use of technology can be very useful, since it allows us to be constantly connected with almost every corner of the planet, the lack of communication can produce a feeling of anxiety that invades us and makes us intensely desire the moment when we are connected again.
The anxious and obsessive symptoms that we present when we are without a mobile phone have been recognized by psychologists, and this excessive and irrational fear of being without a smartphone has been baptized as ” Nomaphobia “. The term comes from the English expression ” no-mobile-phone phobia “. We will talk about this syndrome today, not only to focus on the negative aspects of the new technologies, but also to try to reflect on the use we make of them.
The first study on Nomaphobia
Many experts speak of Nomaphobia as the new disease of the 21st century . Studies on this phenomenon began in 2011 in the UK, with research conducted by the UK Post Office and the YouGo Demonstration Institute .
The study involved 2,163 subjects, and the data revealed that 53 per cent of mobile phone users in the UK feel anxious when their mobile phone battery runs out, they lose their phone or they lose their coverage. The study also revealed that 58 per cent of men and 48 per cent of women suffer from this condition.
The study also concluded that the levels of stress presented by people with Nomaphobia were comparable to what a person may have the day before their wedding. In addition, 55% of participants reported “feeling isolated” when they did not have their cell phone.
What a person with Nomaphobia looks like
Many people suffer from mobile phone dependency and are connected 24 hours a day , and experts think that the profile of the nomaphobe is that of a person who has little self-confidence and low self-esteem, with a lack of social and conflict resolution skills, and who in his leisure time only uses his mobile phone and seems unable to enjoy himself without it.
In terms of age, this disorder is more common in adolescents, as they have more need to be accepted by others and are more familiar with new technologies.
Symptoms of Nomaphobia
The symptoms that a person with Nomaphobia may have are the following:
- Feeling of anxiety
- Obsessive thoughts
- Stomach pain
Education is basic to prevent this type of pathologies associated with the use of new technologies
Nomaphobia is another pathology directly associated with the use and development of new technologies. Since the emergence of smartphones, more and more people depend exclusively on these devices and more and more users have developed this disorder.
Despite the fact that adults can also suffer from this disorder, it is children and young people who are more likely to suffer from mental health problems as a result of their dependence on new technologies , as they spend many hours connected and develop their identity on social networks. They are the “digital natives”; people who have lived since birth surrounded by technologies of this type.
Learning to use technology in moderation
Regarding this, psychologist Jonathan Garcia-Allen in the article “FOMO Syndrome: feeling that the lives of others are more interesting”, comments that “education is basic to prevent this type of pathology and should be done from an early age”. According to García-Allen himself, “The main problem is not the new technologies, but the pathological use of them, which can materialize both in addiction and in uses that can generate psychological problems”.
Therefore, the key is not to prohibit the use of smartphones by children and adolescents, but to make them understand the importance of the correct use of these devices and to ensure an education that understands both the positive aspects of the new technologies and the abusive and pathological uses . In this respect, prevention in the family and in the school is the key element.