Are we all suffering from nomophobia?

Are we all suffering from nomophobia?

Nomophobia - an anxiety disorder which stems from being out of cellular phone contact.

There’s no denying that phones are amazing. I remember getting my first Nokia when I was a kid and being totally blown away by it. Although I was under strict instructions that I could only use it to call people (and by ‘people’ my parents meant them, and them alone), I was still fascinated by how you could put a few numbers in and then someone else would pick up at the other end. Mind blowing magic as a child! Over the years phones have changed from providing us with phone calls, to text messages, to emails and BBM (remember that?), to pictures and internet, and then finally the thing we never knew we needed - social networking apps. I’m know I’m not the only one who has WhatsApp, Facebook (and Messenger), Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat and Skype on my phone, and I certain that I’m not the only one who checks these pretty much every day. It truly is unbelievable that we are all so busy and have so little time to do so many things in our lives yet our scrolling time is increasing year on year. It's addictive - each app catches ours and our friends interest and then we are hooked. Whether it’s looking at meme after meme on Facebook, or catching up on the latest news on twitter, we all use social media to consume information...but we also waste a lot of time on complete crap. I can’t be the only one getting frustrated that I don’t actually see anything my friends have put on Facebook because it’s jam packed with posts about things they had ‘liked’. Surely the whole Instagram community is pulling their hair out about the stupid algorithm which means we're seeing the same pictures over and over? And despite being so god damn irritated, I still go back...every day...to scroll, scroll, scroll. Why do I do this to myself? I rely on my phone for so much - checking emails on the go, listening to some amazing podcasts, reading blog posts and articles from people I love - and it’s all part of my day to day life. There’s so many things I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for my phone, and how easy it is for me to get and share information. But at the same time, phones also really concern me. After looking at a screen all day at work, I make a conscious decision to stare at another screen in my spare time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’d be totally out of the loop if I didn’t have a bit of phone time, but I’m also realising that a lot of people (myself included) are rarely seen without a phone in hand, and it’s like it has become an extension of us that we never knew we needed. Some realisations: - I barely pick up the phone to call my loved ones, because there are so many other easier ways to communicate quickly and then move on with something else I’m doing.

- I take pictures of EVERYTHING, just because I can. With a swipe right on my phone I can be on my camera without even having to put my password in. I have thousands of pictures that I never do anything with, and probably only about 3 photo albums in my house with physical pictures in them - unlike my parents who still make so many. - I happily sit with my 3 housemates on the sofa and we ‘multi-task’ by watching tv, chatting and scrolling on our phones. It suits us because we want to hang out together, but also catch up on what we haven’t had the chance to look at during the day whilst in the office. But it always saddens me that this is the world we live in as I so often feel like i'm not fully present in a situation because i'm trying to do too many things at once. Do we really live in a time where we need to have 'mobile free nights' or leave our phones in our rooms for a bit so I fully embrace the time I spend with people? - I very often go for dinner with friends and phones are always on/never far from the table. Yes, this can be good because we can show things quickly, or look something up which will add to our conversation, but it always makes me think about the fact that people coped absolutely fine when they had to call their friend the next day to give them that restaurant suggestion or email the holiday pictures. - Are people actually listening? How many times do you think to yourself ‘Did they just hear what I said?’ - well for me, that is a lot. I’m sure I am just as guilty from time to time, but I am now so aware that so many people in my life are in a world of their own scrolling through rubbish online whilst I’m trying to have a conversation with them. The worst for me is when we are in public (which is just plain rude), as it makes me want to be doing something better with my time than talking to the equivalent of a brick wall. - I don’t sleep very well. I look at so many gadgets between when I wake up and go to sleep so it’s no surprise that I lie restless in bed for a while before eventually falling asleep. This is because screens reduce the amount of melatonin your body produces (the hormone that controls your sleep cycle), and your phone also makes your brain more alert and less relaxed because of the amount of information your consuming. Sleep is so precious - so why make myself so tired? We clearly all love our little gadgets, I know I couldn’t live without mine, but with all of the realisations above, it does make you think about the decisions you're making. It is clear that is our phones are making us far more sociable without having to leave our sofa, but they are also making us antisocial as we might not always be enjoying moments to the fullest. I'm not saying I’m going to ditch the gadgets and go back to writing letters, but I fear myself and a lot of people I know are on the verge of/already have nomophobia. How about we put down our phones whilst with friends? Arrange to meet up with someone instead of finding out about their life via WhatsApp or Facebook? Stop scrolling through Instagram when we realise we’ve seen the same thing more than twice? Just make a conscious effort to look up from our screens and live in the real world instead of through our amazing, but pesky phones. I know I will be. CTx


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TmS said...

I left my phone at home once and blogged about it...

omar2002 said...

I'm the one with the phone.

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