Do You Constantly Worry About Your Cellphone? You Could Have Nomophobia
May 9, 2012

Do You Constantly Worry About Your Cellphone? You Could Have Nomophobia

Going too long without their cellphone is something that many people fear, and that fear -- labeled as nomophobia (the fear of being out of contact with someone via mobile phone)  -- is on the rise, according to a study by SecurEnvoy, a company that deals in mobile phone technology.

Cellphone mobility is now a huge part of our daily lives, but for many, staying connected is becoming a huge obsession. And many, 66 percent of those surveyed, said they do have “nomophobia.” That number is an increase from a similar study four years ago, which concluded that 53 percent of people admitted they had fears of losing their cellphones.

In the recent survey, conducted using OnePoll, SecurEnvoy polled 1,000 employed people about their mobile phone usage. The survey found that 41 percent of people surveyed said they have more than one cellphone, an indication that fear of going without a cellphone is the real deal.

The poll also found that nomophobia affects women more than men -- 70 percent of women surveyed compared to 61 percent of men. However, it is men who likely have more than one mobile phone -- 47 percent to 36 percent, respectively. And younger people (18-24) are more nomophobic (77%) than those 25-34 years old (68%). Those 55 and older were surprisingly found to be third most nomophobic.

“I´d be inclined to draw the conclusion that, perhaps because more men have two phones, they´re less likely to misplace both and therefore be left phone-less,” said Andy Kemshall, SecurEnvoy CTO and co founder. “There is another study into mobile phone use that found people check their phones, on average, 34 times a day so it wouldn´t take long for you to realize if you´d misplaced your device.”

It is common to see problems arise due to cellphone use, according to Dr. Mitch Spero, director of child and family psychologists in Broward County, Florida. “Cellphones are tools that should be used to enhance our lives, not to destroy our interpersonal communication skills with those that we love,” he told Adam Kuperstein NBC Miami.

While the study indicates that people check their cellphones an average of 34 times per day, Karla Campos, of Pembroke Pines, said that´s nothing.

Campos, who owns web services firm Gig Logo, said she checks her phone usually 50 times per day, and even sleeps with it. “Before I go to sleep, I put it under my pillow,” she told Kuperstein.

Another surprising find of the survey: as many as 75 percent of those polled said they use their cellphones in the bathroom.

Scott Miller-Farrugia, of Coral Springs, said instead of a newspaper or magazine, he brings his cellphone to the bathroom. His wife Shellie, who is nicknamed “Celly” because of her addiction, said: “No matter where I am, it goes with me.”

But Campos takes the term “everywhere” to the extreme. She told Kuperstein that she even  takes her phone to the shower, “just in case it rings and somebody needs me.”

And she even uses the phone to communicate with her 10-year-old son, even when they are not necessarily apart. She said their conversations are deeper on Facebook -- via the mobile phone.

Campos argued that any form of communication is better than none at all, and she said the cellphone is a positive way to keep connected to family.

Back to the study, Kemshall found another interesting revelation: nearly half of people surveyed said they would be upset if their messages and texts were being viewed by their partner, many of which do not use security features to keep their messages private. The survey found that 46 percent do not use any protection whatsoever, 41 percent use a four pin access code, and only 10 percent encrypt their device.

“With 58 percent of the respondents using at least one device for business use, this lack of security is a worrying trend that needs addressing,” said Kemshall.

“What this study does highlight though,” adds Kemshall “is the extent that people now rely on their mobile phones. At SecurEnvoy we have certainly seen a huge spike in demand from local government and the private sector looking to turn their staff´s phones into security devices, where they can use SMS tokenless®two factor authentication to access data securely and easily whilst on the move.”

As people are increasingly connected, nomophobia will continue to rise, becoming a mainstream issue for millions of people who need to have their phones on them, and on, at all times.

If you are constantly worried about your phone: where it is, who is using it, and if it´s on or off, you could have nomophobia.