A new phobia has entered the annals of human history. It has nothing to do with lack of space or too much of it. As yet there is no known cure for the new phobia….well, there is one actually, but no one is going to adhere to it. You may even have heard of it, those of you attuned to the frequencies of life. Nomophobia. The fear of being separated from your Smartphone, your mobile (cell phone in North America)….’Smartphone Separation Anxiety’. A new study says it is a legitimate phobia. Who knew?
The all-encompassing, consumer available Smartphone has only been around since 2006 when Nokia combined the phone with entertainment. The first Smartphones, up to that time from 2000, were being used mainly by people in business. When Apple came out with the iPhone in 2007, all mobile hell broke loose. Since then, new models and apps (applications) come out every few months to compete for the market share. When you consider that the whole concept of a Smartphone was conceptualized only in 1971 (sounds like a long time ago, but is nothing in the greater scheme of things) by Theodore Paraskevakos, they have come a long way in a short time. Patented in 1974, it wasn’t until 1994 that the concept came to life and wasn’t called a Smartphone until the following year. Then in 1996, Nokia became the first company to combine a phone with PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants….notebook, calendar and calculator etc.).
By 2012, there were 1 Billion Smartphones in use and 860 Million in Europe alone the next year. With all the new apps being added on a weekly basis and new phones coming out every few months with better cameras and faster internet service, the one thing that has never improved is the battery life of Smartphones. Still a poor performance of several hours at a time….unless you leave yours plugged in overnight, thus weakening the battery life considerably. And who among us has not done that? And more than once? Guilty. Never fear, the brains are working on solar-powered phones. But that would put the battery companies out of business….oh the dilemma.
So, back to Nomophobia. It is rampant apparently. I wonder if old Paraskevakos understood the monster that would be unleashed way back in ’71? Like with anything else, the mobile/cell Smartphone has its good uses as we all know. It has gotten me out of a few scrapes I confess. But it can just as easily take over your life as any Nomophobe will tell you. Except they can’t because they’re too busy texting or playing games or Googling this or that or sending the latest selfie over social media. There is no NA (Nomophobics Anonymous) yet as far as I know. There are many associations designed especially for any kind of addict, but that would encourage Smartphone users to go online to search for one.
I suppose we’re getting used to people being on their Smartphones more than not these days….especially young people. They are now the new masters of technology. I watched the news today, oh boy….the BBC news that featured a young lad of 6 who is a computer wiz. He is even developing programs. There are more like him around the world. The parents encourage it, knowing that technology, and in particular computer technology, is the future whether we want it all or not. Ozymandias help us when this kid gets his first Smartphone. Luckily the little lad said he wants to be a pilot. We’ll see. In the meantime, he and millions like him learn to use this technology from the ripe old age of 2. Most just like gaming unlike the boy in the news. Even on their Smartphones they play games. One of my guitar students, a young lad, has every gizmo going. He plays games on his XBox, his phone and online with a computer designed just for gaming so he can play against other kids (hopefully kids) all over the world. Madness.
Not only the young are hooked. Most of us are. In Third World countries we get news feeds from people with Smartphones. I am in touch with a chap in Africa (doesn’t matter where) who sells shoelaces on the street. He texts me (got my number from my Blog site apparently) just to ask how my day is and to say how much he enjoys my Blog. He has asked for nothing. Hi Ahumuza. Just wants to connect with people. I hope I’m not being naive. I do try to be careful, but the world is changing because of the Smartphone. I text my brother in Canada regularly.
All you have to do is sit on a commuter train or bus to see how many Nomophobes might be right under our noses. They grasp their phones in their hands like they were the only lifelines to the world around them. Ozymandias forbid that they would leave their Smartphones at home by mistake or misplace them or inadvertently forget them at work. Just about every one of them (the majority on any train or bus) has headphones on, listening to tunes or watching a movie or a TV show on their Smartphones. We are getting used to seeing people talk to the air. Once upon a time these were the mad people, talking to themselves. Now it’s everyone chatting to a friend, family member or a business associate.
The study that produced the term Nomophobia, ‘Smartphone Separation Anxiety’, identified four areas that cause the Nomophobe the greatest level of disease when they don’t have their mobiles/cells with them: 1/ Can’t communicate by call or text with friends etc. 2/ Lost connections (those dead spots with no signal we all encounter) 3/ Can’t access information, like Googling answers to a need-to-know question and 4/ Just the inconvenience of not being able to make reservations, order tickets or accomplish simple tasks. The study revealed that women are 3.6 times more likely to experience separation anxiety than men (not my stat….don’t shoot the Blogger). To find out if we are in the Nomophobic realm, the study provides 21 questions we are to ask ourselves. The last one is telling. Answer yes or no to the following as regards being separated from your Smartphone: I would feel weird because I would not know what to do. Madness.
I have a Samsung Ace 3, the worst phone I have ever leased. If the company comes after me for printing this, they’ll get an earful, believe me. They already have, but I can’t get no satisfaction. You see, the battery was burning into the Sim (Subscribers Identification Module) Card (apologies to non-users, the few of you out there) and causing it to lose data. A problem Samsung knows about but has no recall policy. The company I was under contract with EE (formerly Orange) changed my Sim Card but forgot to transfer data over. On top of that, half the apps don’t work and it won’t let me on wi-fi. I went back and they said it wasn’t an EE problem, but an Orange problem who in turn said it was an EE problem. It gets very confusing. And if anyone can tell me how to get a new battery for it. Even Samsung says they have none. Besides, the Ace 3 is now old news and I’m just in the second year of a 2 year contract. The Ace 3 was brand new a year and a half ago. Frustrating. I can do nothing until my contract is up in December. What is a poor boy to do?
I’ll tell you. In December I’m going to take my number to another provider….yes, I know they’re all the same. Promises they never deliver on because of sales pitches that have nothing to do with reality. And the Ace 3 is a bugger to use believe me. My sainted Uncle has one too. Drives him crazy. So, I’ll go to this new provider and buy the cheapest phone and use Pay-As-You-Go. That’s what this poor boy shall do. I shall leaves the ranks of Nomophobia and become a recluse, only calling when I need to. But those new iPhones sure do look cool.