Complex Made Simple

Do you suffer from nomophobia? Where is your cellphone?

An average person has 150 people in their social networks and cell phones multiply that by a factor of 10, a psychiatrist with St. Luke's Behavioral Health Dr. Mark Murphy, says.

There is a transformation of the cell phone from a status symbol to a need because it allows us to conduct a number of things like email communication, calculator, video game player, camera, video streaming, music player, GPS, food order, hail a cab, family photos, banking services,,calendars and social networking, among others.

It’s gotten so serious that Italy's Five Star Movement (M5S) has drafted a law aimed at preventing and treating the rising phenomenon of nomophobia, the fear of being without your phone and having low-battery anxiety.

Nomophobia symptoms

Have you ever noticed how a low battery warning can trigger deep anxiety in you?

You see it in the sweaty faces of fellow travelers at airport departure gates.

“Without continuous access to a cellphone in these days and times, people can quickly get irrational and desperate — they swipe others' charging cables, and barge into businesses to immediately plugin,” said Interesting Engineering (IE).

Here are the physical symptoms which can be observed in someone who is suffering from Nomophobia:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Respiratory alterations
  3. Trembling
  4. Perspiration
  5. Agitation
  6. Disorientation
  7. Rapid heartbeat that may be regular or irregular)

The emotional symptoms to look out for are:

  1. Depression
  2. Panic
  3. Fear
  4. Dependence
  5. Rejection
  6. Low self-esteem
  7. Loneliness

Cellphone companies are addressing our anxiety

Battery manufacturers and cellphone manufacturers are dueling at present. As soon as battery manufacturers add more capacity, cellphone manufacturers add more features that use power.  

“Newer cellphones have embedded wireless charging capabilities. The wireless charging industry has coalesced around the Qi standard. It uses an inductive charging system over distances of up to 4 cm (1.6 inches),” said IE.

Mobile manufacturers who are incorporating the system into their devices include Apple, Asus, Google, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility, Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry, Xiaomi, and Sony.

 The Android Pie operating system (OS) sends users a notification when their battery is getting low rather than just displaying the percentage of battery left. With the iPhone X, Apple has removed the exact battery percentage from beside the battery icon on most screens.  

In 2018, scientists at Aston University in the UK demonstrated a method for offloading power-hungry parts of apps to the cloud, reducing power consumption by 60%.

The solid-state battery is on the horizon, but it is not quite ready for prime time.   

How bad is nomophobia?

The term Nomophobia was coined by the UK Post Office during a study conducted in 2008 and also created YouGov, in order to evaluate anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. 

Over 53% of mobile phone users became anxious when they "lost their mobile phone, ran out of battery or had no network coverage.

Around 58% of the men and 47% of the women suffer from Nomophobia, and an additional 9% of the responders felt stressed when their mobile phones were switched off. 

The study compared the stress levels felt by the responders ranging from "wedding day jitters" to "trips to the dentist."

Another study by Deloitte found that over 60% of the people check their mobile phone first thing in the morning after they wake up.

 a 2017 YouGov study revealing that 38% of teens felt they couldn’t last even a day without their smartphone.