Nomophobia! The Silent Addiction

Today I want to talk to you about the growing trend of Nomophobia which literally means “no-mobile-phone-phobia“.

It is defined as the irrational fear of being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power.

The Video by Gary Turk entitled “Look Up” sums it up perfectly. It’s time we look up from our devices and see the beauty that lies around us. It’s time we worked on actual friendships instead of focusing so much on how many Instagram friends we have. It’s time we get off social media and became more sociable.

I discussed this topic at Youth Group last Friday night and not surprisingly most of the younger persons attested that they really cannot imagine life without their phones. Most of us admitted that we all get in to a bit of a panic when we leave home and reach into our bags or pockets and cannot immediately locate our phones.

We all stated that we never turn off our phones not even at nights even if we are going to sleep. Most of them stated that they never turn off their phones. Furthermore , they can’t fall asleep without their phones by their side like an accessory. Each one of them attested that the first thing they do in the morning is to their phones and there is usually a moment of panic where they search around their beds for their phones and only after they have found them can they then lie down comfortably and begin their day by checking their whatsapp messages or social media feeds.

Some of us have adopted some of these practices which are all signs of Nomphobia. But do not despair you are not alone.

Several studies and surveys since 2008 prove that the feeling of anxiety in the absence of a mobile phone affects over 50 % of the population. It affects young people more because they are used to this technology from an early age and are more vulnerable as they need social approval provided by the continuous use of social networks. The study further proved that 67 % of persons or 2 in 3 people sleep with or next to their smart phones. Even more startling 34 % of persons admitted to answering their cellphone during intimacy with their partner. Crazy right?!

Considering all that was said before I want to challenge each of you to look up from your phones or tablets or any devices. I am challenging you to have a face to face conversation as oppposed to a whattsapp message even right now. Put down your phones at dinner and actually have a conversation. Enjoy the moment instead of taking a picture or video of it. Tell someone you like or love them instead of giving them a like on instagram or facebook.

I challenge you to a weekend social media cleanse. It may mean turning off your phone. It may also mean signing out of Instagram , Facebook or Twitter or whatever your social media drugs may be. Instead spend this weekend enjoying nature or reading a physical book. You can take a walk, a jog or just hang and have fun with friends or family.

Just for one (1) weekend. I challenge you and myself to Look up!