Hello, JFR blog readers! It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write a blog post. The last phobia that I shared was hippopotomonstrosesquideliophobia, otherwise known as the phobia of long words. While hippopotomonstrosesquideliophobia is not a common phobia, it is a humorous one. There is, however, one phobia that everyone in society today probably has. This phobia is called nomophobia, the fear of being without a mobile phone.
There is the understanding that being without a mobile phone can be scary, particularly in case an emergency comes up. I know I would be afraid of going on a long drive somewhere without being able to reach AAA or being able to call for help. Phones have the added benefit of allowing me to communicate with family and friends when I have an immediate question or problem. I cannot even count the number of times that I’ve gone to the grocery store and, upon forgetting what I was supposed to get, conveniently called my house from my mobile device. It is also convenient when meeting with big groups of people, because a quick phone call or text can notify people of tardiness or being lost.
While these are all understandable reasons to be fearful of not having a mobile phone, I think that this phobia has taken new heights in recent years.
Who doesn’t love technology? Today we have the world at our fingertips through our mobile devices. Need to send out an important email? Check whether or not your friends broke up? Want to order take out online? Look at the score between rival basketball teams from years before? Our cellphones are useful for more than just a phone call or text message these days.
On a weekly basis, I try and go out to dinner with my friends or cousins, just to catch up and spend time unwinding after the week. I have noticed that there is something similar about every restaurant we go to. At every table, booth, or bar there are people sucked into their phones. They are hardly talking or paying any attention to the others around them. Nomophobia is a real fear, and not in case of those emergency phone calls. Society today has this constant need to feel connected through our cellphones with the consequence of not being present in actual social settings.
I have tried many days to put down my phone and be more interactive with the environment I am in. But unless I am kept preoccupied, I feel the impulse to check what other people are doing via social media or texts. There is this parallel feeling of not wanting to miss out on what’s going on.
The other problem is that even when I put my phone down and walk away for a couple hours, I can come back to several emails and text messages. Sometimes they are urgent and relative to my internship or job, and if it is just a friend they will ask why I didn’t reply right away. The outside world adds to this fear of not having a cellphone because it is expected to be on you at all times. How many times have you said or heard, “What is the point of having a phone if you’re not going to use it?” We are all missing out on life in a way.
Today it is understandable that someone can have nomophobia. I can say that I do have nomophobia. Do you?
— Jess Jordan, Managing Editor