“New technologies make our lives easier, but they also generate addiction.”
Due to technological advances, social networks and the presence of the internet in virtually all mobile phones, we spend many hours connected to the “smartphone”.
This causes that when we are without a cell phone, we feel lost.
Mobile phone addiction: causes and symptoms
Although the use of technology can be very useful, since it allows us to be constantly in connection with almost every corner of the planet, incommunication can produce a sense of anxiety that invades us and makes us intensely desire the moment in that we are connected again.
The anxious and obsessive symptoms that we suffer when we have no cell phone have been recognized by psychologists, and this excessive and irrational fear of being without a smartphone has been baptized as “Nomophobia”. The term comes from the English expression “no-mobile-phone phobia”. I will speak today about this syndrome, not only to focus on the negative aspects of new technologies, but also to try to reflect on the use that we make of them.
The first study on Nomophobia
Many experts talk about Nomophobia as the new disease of the 21st century. Studies on this phenomenon began in 2011 in the United Kingdom, with research conducted by the United Kingdom Post Office and the YouGo Demoscopic Institute.
The study included 2,163 subjects, and the data revealed that 53% of mobile phone users in the UK feel anxious when their mobile phone’s battery runs out, they lose it or they run out of coverage. The study also revealed that 58% of men and 48% of women suffer from this disorder.
The study also concluded that the stress levels of people with Nomophobia were comparable to what a person can have the day before their wedding. In addition, 55% of the participants said “feeling isolated” when they did not have a cell phone.
How is a person with Nomofobia
Many people suffer from dependence on mobile phones and are contacted 24 hours a day, and experts think that the profile of the nomophobic person is that of a person who has little self-confidence and low self-esteem, with a lack of social skills and resolution of conflicts, and that in his leisure time he only uses his cell phone and seems incapable of enjoying it without him.
Regarding age, this disorder is more common in teenagers, because they have more need to be accepted by others and are more familiar with new technologies.
Symptoms of Nomophobia
The symptoms that a person with Nomofobia can present are the following:
- Obsessive thoughts
- Stomach ache
Education is basic to prevent this type of pathologies associated with the use of new technologies
Nomophobia is another of the pathologies directly associated with the use and development of new technologies. Since the emergence of smartphones, more and more people are relying exclusively on these devices and more and more users have developed this disorder.
Although adults can also suffer from this disorder, children and young people are more likely to suffer mental health problems as a result of reliance on new technologies, as they spend many hours connected and develop their identity in social networks . They are the “digital natives”; people who have lived since their birth surrounded by technologies of this type.
Learning how to use technology
Psychologist Jonathan García-Allen in the article “Syndrome FOMO: feeling that the life of others is more interesting”, says that “education is basic to prevent this type of pathologies and must be done from an early age”. According to García-Allen himself, “The main problem is not new technologies, but the pathological use of them, which can materialize both in addiction and in uses that can generate psychological problems.”
Therefore, the key is not to prohibit the use of smartphones for children and adolescents, but to make them understand the importance of the correct use of these devices and to ensure an education that includes both the positive aspects of new technologies and the uses undue and pathological. In this regard, prevention in the family and at school is the key element.