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Nomophobia is fear of losing mobiles, being out of network coverage

5 April, 2008

After ‘ringxiety’ – in which the user of a mobile phone “hears’ the ringing when in fact the phone is not ringing – comes another psychological problem connected with mobile phones.

The newly discovered condition has been named nomophobia, which is the mental stress arising out of the fear of losing mobile phones and of being out of mobile contact. A study conducted by YouGov, a research organization based in the United Kingdom, has brought to light the emergence of this new phobia among users of mobile phones in Britain.

It was found in the study that 53% of users of mobile phones in the United Kingdom tend to get anxious when they lose their gadget, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage. Also, it was noticed that the number of anxious men surpasses that of women – men panic whenever they come across any of these mobile phone-related problems.

While 58% of men and 48% of women are experiencing nomophobia, an additional 9% feels stressed whenever mobile phones are turned off.

In all, the researchers studied 2,163 persons, out of whom over 20% said that they never switched off their mobile phones. For never switching off mobile phones, 1 in 10 mentioned the reason as job requirements and 55% cited the reason as keeping in touch with friends and family.

Stewart Fox-Mills, head of Telephony at the UK Post Office, which commissioned the YouGov study, was quoted by British newspaper The Independent as commenting, “We’re all familiar with the stressful situations of everyday life such as moving house, break-ups and organizing a family Christmas, but it seems being out of mobile contact may be the 21st century’s contribution to our already manic lives. Being phoneless and panicked is a symptom of our 24/7 culture.”

The Post Office has suggested a solution to avoid nomophobia: give your loved ones an alternative contact number and make a back-up list of all contacts in case the mobile phone is lost or stolen.




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