It is the weekend. It can be a time to relax. It may be a time to run errands taking kids to and fro parties. My six year old son has a more active social life than I do. This is the third weekend in a row where he has one or more parties to attend. Regardless of the time to relax or bask in the glory of my child’s social life, I still have that cell phone attached to me. It may be deep in my handbag but it is in there. As he plays around at the parties, I am reading some article on phone. I tell myself I am keeping up with world events. But is hanging on to that cell phone too much of a good thing?
In this day in age, there is now a new phobia. There is nomophobia which is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. You have seen it all around you. The second someone thinks they have misplaced their cell phone they stop everything and panic while they turn a room upside down trying to find their cell phone. For many, being without their cell phone is like being without a key part of themselves. I have seen Facebook updates wherein individuals let everyone know that they left their cell phone home that day. Literally, being without a cell phone is a “stop the presses” moment. A few years back, researchers out of England coined this term based on their finding that that nearly 53% of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage.” Yup, we have all seen that moment of anxiety at work, at home, at the supermarket and even at parties. Of course, probably even more at parties. How else could you update your facebook status or tweet about how much fun you are having at the party. Sadly, the second you realize that you cannot let the world know how much fun you are having you stop having fun. Nomophobia takes you away from that broadcast moment where you can shout to the world. I believe that is what is at the heart of this fear.
We have become so super attuned to staying connected to people without really having to talk to them that we are unable to process the moment we live in fully. Yes, mobile phones have led to a situation where we have too much of a technology good thing that has replaced our in the moment human interaction events.
What are you doing this weekend? Will you relax and read a book? Watch a movie? In the movie theatre there will inevitably be those that while they sit there grabbing popcorn with one hand, their other hand will be tightly holding on their cell phone (or two). While reading a book on the porch or on the couch, the cell phone will be resting right there next to one’s leg as if it were a pet. While trying on that pair of sexy high heels, we will bend down, take a snapshot and let our social networks know we are about to treat ourselves. The treat itself at that point becoming somewhat irrelevant. As a society we might just all be nomophobes. Hell, I am uploading this post via my cell phone. Yes, Alanis isn’t that ironic?