Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The term, which is an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone-phobia”, was coined during a study by the UK Post Office who commissioned YouGov, a UK-based research organization to take a look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. The study found that almost 53 percent of mobile phone users in Britain have a tendency to be anxious when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage”. The study also found that nearly 58 percent of men and 48 percent of women keep in touch with friends or family as the main reason that they got anxious when they couldn’t use their mobile phones. The study compared stress levels induced by the average case of nomophobia to be on-par with those of “wedding day jitters” and some trips to the dentist’s office. Ten percent of those that were questioned said they needed to be contactable at all times due to work. It is, however, arguable that the word “phobia” is misused and that in the majority of these cases it is only a normal anxiety.
More than 1 in 2 nomophobes never switch off their mobile phones. The study and subsequent coverage of the phobia resulted in two editorial columns that were authorized by those who minimize their mobile phone usage or choose not to own one at all, treating the condition with light undertones or outright disbelief and amusement.
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