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.
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.