Telcos

My name is Sonja, and I'm a nomophobic

Nomophobia is the fear of being without your mobile device. Sonja Thompson suffers from it. Do you?

Nomophobia is the fear of being without your mobile phone, and according to a recent poll by SecurEnvoy, two-thirds of 1,000 respondents admitted to suffering from this phenomenon. Now, I'm sure there are varying degrees of nomophobia, and the definition of "fear" can range from worrying if you lost your mobile device, being concerned that you'll miss an important call, apprehension that someone will read your text messages, or having a general sense of uneasiness when your phone isn't in your possession.

Here are some of the additional findings:

"More women worry about losing their phones than men - 70% of the women surveyed compared to 61% of the men, yet it is men that are more likely to have two phones - scoring 47% and 36% respectively, perhaps in an effort to stay connected. When split by age, it is the younger age group (18 – 24) that are more nomophobic at 77%, with the 25 – 34 age group second at 68%. Perhaps a little more surprisingly is that third most nomophobic are the 55 and overs!

It makes sense that the younger generation is admittedly the most nomophobic, because a lot of the functionality of newer phones is "cool," the devices themselves are associated with status, and they provide a lifeline to social networks. And lifeline might be a big reason behind the nomophobia in folks age 55 and older, plus the increased reliance on smartphones as data repositories. Seriously, if I didn't write down things in Evernote or Grocery iQ, I wouldn't remember them. With a decrease in memory comes an increase in smartphone usage. I think there's a physics law that explains that relationship much better.

Personally, I have to have my cell phone on me at all times. It's my calendar, camera, grocery list, GPS, fact keeper/finder, entertainment, and connection to the rest of the world (yes, I even use my phone to make and receive calls). Over time, I've become increasingly dependent on my smartphone, simply because it is so much more than a device for making calls. Without it, I'd literally be lost -- and I wouldn't be able to phone anyone for help, because I stopped memorizing phone numbers a long time ago.

I also have the luxury -- as the editor of TechRepublic's Smartphones blog -- of testing and reviewing different smartphones when they first hit the market (thanks, Verizon). That means, on any day of the week, I might have two or more phones on me, which is a nomophobic's dream come true. The biggest challenge I've found with having multiple phones is not falling in love with any of the review units. My heart is still broken over the Samsung Stratosphere. Dear Stratie-poo, with your Super AMOLED display and slider keyboard, if you're reading this... (sniff)... I miss you.

Do you suffer from nomophobia? How much do you rely on your mobile phone throughout the day? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

38 comments
carolinagirl38D
carolinagirl38D

Okay... So my EVO eats batteries like a fat kid eats chocolate cake. And when I spend all day surfing the web, texting, emailing and talking, all in 4G, I'd be worried... If I didn't have 5 fully charged spares on my purse and a charger in my car. We've cut every cord in our home - no landline, no internet, no cable, no satellite dish, no clocks, no watches, I think there is a calendar in the fridge but, I don't think it's on the correct month, haven't bought a dead-tree book in over two years, our local library has on line books available from every library in the state, so you see, we have nothing - just two very capable smart phones, an honest to god unlimited data plan, a stand alone computer and a 40" TV. Oh and about one extra cable. And we want for nothing. So yes, I am very uncomfortable without my very smartphone. - sharon, somewhere in the wilds of North Carolina

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

My bangs are now longer, and I no longer have that outfit, but my hand is still attached a phone!

Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182
Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182

I carry a smartphone on a regular basis. I use it for navigation and reference. I carry a number of software tools on the SD card instead of toting a flash drive. I have a jukebox app because I rarely find music to my taste on the radio. If I have to wait on something, like at the doctor's office, and I don't feel like napping, I have a couple of books and a couple of games on it. I make occasional phone calls. When I forget it, I don't get nervous or fearful; it's more like irritation at forgetting a tool I use for my job. I spent way too much of my life not being constant contact with the world to worry much about that aspect of it now. I use the term smart phone under duress; when I call it a belt-clip computer (which it is), people look at me funny.

vancevep
vancevep

I actually left my phone at home this morning... didn't realize it until I got to work. Almost thought about calling my partner and having him bring it to me, but thought to myself... "is life really going to end if you don't have your phone for the next 8 hours?!" Watch, my car will break down on the freeway on the way home tonight!!

jfuller05
jfuller05

unless I'm on the road. I know it sounds like I'm a-a-a-fraid of breaking down and not having a phone to call tow truck or someone else, but it's true. If I'm on the road, I like to have my phone with me and I like for my wife to take her phone with her while she's on the road because she doesn't know basic car troubleshooting. I've left my phone in the car many a time when I arrive at my destination because I just don't need my phone with me at all times. There have been many times I've found myself in boring or awkward conversations with a person and I think, "Why, oh why, did I leave my phone in the car?" ;) :)

5haggi
5haggi

If my Galaxy S2 has a phone capability ... what would I use it for?

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

and there's no reception up here. Way down by the golf course they work, but at home now there's just a land-line and DSL. I guess we'll just have to keep irradiating our brains the old-fashioned way; cell phones are pretty much out up here in the tall trees. ("Can you hear me now.........?")

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

My current phone -- the HTC Thunderbolt -- is a work horse, but several people I've talked to say that the voice connection and quality is sketchy (definitely not as clear as my previous phone, the HTC Incredible). You would think that a phone would be stellar for making calls first and foremost... and somehow, that feature has become less important to me, compared to the phone's other capabilities. :-/

5haggi
5haggi

Not having your phone on you, or knowing that it's low on charge O-O

Ekendra Lamsal
Ekendra Lamsal

I think the no. of nomophobic is increasing everyday, we are getting addicted to mobile phones and sometimes the addiction is inevitable and unavoidable at all.

spdragoo
spdragoo

For my wife & I, the primary purpose of our cell phones is: 1. For keeping in touch with each other when neither one of us is at home/work; 2. For emergency use, including as a backup for the alarm clock; and 3. Because some of her friends insist on calling her on her cell phone, even though we do have a landline (& they even know the landline). But to be honest, when we're at home, our phones are primarily put somewhere out of the way, most of the time [b]not[/b] within earshot or easy reach. They're not our primary point of contact, so we don't feel the need to have a deathgrip on them 24/7. Nor are they smartphones, because we don't need the Internet available 24/7 when we're away from home.. & if we're at home, it's much more comfortable to surf on the desktop.

kjackson
kjackson

Who knew? Will my medical insurance recognize this when I have a nervous breakdown because my iPhone dies?

cmiller5400
cmiller5400

I don't need one for personal use; I have just a standard phone with a talk plan, no internet, no picture messaging etc. My current phone is from 2006. Recently one of the metal battery contact tabs broke on it, and I dang near had a fit thinking I may need to get a new phone (the horror I tell you. I don't WANT a new phone!) Luckily I was able to break out my trusty soldering iron and fix the tab. Call me cheap but I don't see the point in paying $15 - $30 per month for internet on a phone in addition to paying $45/mo for the home internet. I don't Tweet, I'm not on Facebook, or MySpace or any other social networking site, so no need to be in constant contact for those reasons. For work, we have Blackberry's that we use for e-mail, SMS text etc. I rarely use the web on it, and I have only tethered it once to test if it works.

Keighlar
Keighlar

I'm more telephony than IT and I get my fill of phones and tech all day long. My own phone is a pay-as-you-go Verizon Wireless flip phone and it's fanciest accoutrement is a [i]very[/i] low pixel camera. I like my life uncomplicated and unplugged. Oh... and neither it nor my work cell phone are often within arm's reach. :D

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Next thing you know, some shyster lawyer will notifying you of your eligibility for some trumped-up class action suit. And you're not eligible for disability or workman's comp either, dammit! :D

jp-eng
jp-eng

Reminds me of the cell phone advertisement a few years ago: "Never put your life on hold" (Who was that, anyhow?). My response now is the same as then -- if your life is in such poor shape that you can't do without your cell phone, you really need to take a hard look at yourself and your lifestyle. And I get as much benefit as anyone from mine; checking email when not at my desk; using the calendar for my appointments, taking pictures of my surroundings at a moment's notice, calling friends and family when it's convenient or useful, ... But, come on! In a panic because it's not immediately at hand??

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

I have to admit, I fall under this catagory as well. My phone also has to be darn near fully charged when I leave the house (if it's not, I have a car charger so I don't worry too much). For me it's the constant link to Darryl and all our kids, my sister in law (whom I love dearly), and the ability to call anyone if I need them (like the time I needed a boost in a Walmart parking lot). The camera has come in handy when I run into oddities or neat things like an old restored camero a couple years ago in that same Walmart parking lot. It's the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I check before I go to bed at night....I too don't leave it far from my side. I've considered other phones, but I've become quite fond of BlackBerry and am looking forward to trading in my Torch for a newer Bold when the time comes. :) Darryl set up our two oldest girls with BBs and moved them onto our family plan so it would be easier to stay in touch with them; this summer we'll set up my 14 yr old daughter with one and will likely be looking into something suitable for our youngest before too long.

unconditionalliving
unconditionalliving

Since cell phones are not cheap, contain private information, and are used for a wide range of tasks (calls, calendar, alarm, address book, web access, text, etc.), it is certainly reasonable that we take very good care of them, and pay close attention to where they are at all times. Like your wallet, it's not the sort of thing you want to lose track of. This level of care-taking I'd hardly call phobia. When care taking crosses the line into unreasonable precautions, and a level of mobile device activity which interferes with other aspects of your life, then I'd say perhaps one's device has become too important in the bigger scheme of life and adjustments might be a good idea. Personally, I keep good track of my phone and treat it like the delicate and useful device it is. But I dont' find myself reaching for it every time I get an idle moment, I don't spend every non-working, non-sleeping moment using it, and I don't use my mobile device when I'm in the company of real people, who I definitely prefer over my cell. It's about balance. If your use and care of your device is a balanced part of your whole life, then relax and enjoy. If your life centers on the use and care of your device, then perhaps it's time to step back and realize that there's a LOT more to life than what comes and goes through your phone, no matter how smart it is. :)

RockerGeek!
RockerGeek!

Sadly, I can say that I am. If it isn't in my pocket, on my desk, or in its dock by my bed, I'm worried. It's my connection to friends, family, and work and I don't have a backup phone.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Since my separation, I've used my smartphone as my only phone. Its also my alarm clock, calendar, contact list etc. If I leave it at home I feel out of touch.

scndtnr
scndtnr

...when I don't know where the phone is. Missing calls, emails, text messages? Meh. I'm rarely out of the loop long enough to suffer any consequences. But I do get irritated when the battery gets low...

vclemmons
vclemmons

What BS, what did they do before smartphones?

jeb.hoge
jeb.hoge

I put my phone on at least the same level of importance as my wallet. I don't like leaving either unattended if I'm not someplace where I know they're safe, and my phone's almost always in the same room as me, if not within arm's reach, even at home. I don't let my kids play with it and my wife really doesn't know how to do much more than place a manually dialled call (it's Android) with it. It's strictly mine.

bhackbarth
bhackbarth

For me, it's my connection to my kids....they get so mad when I don't respond immediately to a text! I think about reminding them that they were a little slow to respond to me when they lived at home, but I figure the relationship is more important than being right. After all, I want to keep those texts coming.

artiegold
artiegold

I thought a nomophobic was someone who had an irrational fear of Ray Charles singing "Hit the Road, Jack!" Boy, was *I* wrong. (Now where the #$%^ is my phone...OK good...yeah, it's charged....phew)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

You have a private golf course at the base of your private mountain... wow! :^0

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

and when it rings, I think to myself "what's that? oh, that's my phone". It may ring a dozen times a year and it's either my sister (who knows darn well what the land line number is here because she's the one that introduced me to Darryl 10+ yrs ago) or one of the girls' schools. I've never had anyone complain about the sound quality but then again, I've never asked. I'll remember to do that next time my sister calls ;) .

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If I don't have it with me, that means it's at home in the desk where it stays except when we're on a trip. If it's low, that means I'm in such trouble that I've depleted the charge dealing with the emergency.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Great potential: Strengthens finger and lower arm muscles, alleviates stress - and charges the phone. All that's needed is a cradle for the phone, including an adjustable jack for the recharger jack, and then along the outside of the cradle, the depressable pumping levers, connected to a dynamo.

Darryl~
Darryl~

Thus the reason I enjoy being in a "no service" area :D But seriously, I fall into the category of guys that carry 2 phones....though I seldom use one of them.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

did stuff. Without being interrupted by a phone call...

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

to my well-intentioned friends here (for the last week). Suffice it to say, Palmetto's wrong, and Ansu's half-right, in their respective surmises......

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

More likely he's a caddy, or maybe works valet parking. :p

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

there are those moments when it's not that I want to get in touch with you, I have to get in touch with you.... 0:-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Did stuff, but when they got home they didn't think it was worth phoning everyone about. Planned grocery lists before going to the store.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Went places, did stuff. Without playing Angry Birds while driving. vclemmons said smart phones, not cell phones :^0

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Specifically, referring to the Golf course in the definite, without first introducing it, seems to suggest that the golf course is an integral part of what he already introduced... his new home! But explaining it now makes me seem rude, which was not intended :p