We use mobile phones every day, but for a growing number of people staying connected is an obsession.
According to a study carried out in 2012 by SecurEnvoy, a company that deals in mobile phone technology, Nomophobia (as in “No Mobile phone phobia”, that is, the fear of being apart from your cell phone) is rising. Out of those surveyed, 66 percent said they have it. That number has gone up from a similar study carried out four years ago, in which 53 percent of people admitted they were afraid of losing their cell phones.
In the 2012 survey, SecurEnvoy polled 1,000 people about their mobile phone usage and found that 41 percent of people surveyed said they have more than one cell phone, an indication that fear of going without a cell phone 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). “We may draw the conclusion that, perhaps because 47 percent of men have two phones, they’re less likely to misplace both and therefore be left phone-less,” said Andy Kemshall, SecurEnvoy co-founder.
Nomophobia crosses all ethnic and social barriers, but researchers say young people are more likely to be addicted: 18-24 year-olds are the most nomophobic (77 %), followed by 25-34 year-olds (68%). Perhaps a little more surprising is that the third most nomophobic are 55 and over!
The study also found that people check their phones, on average, 34 times a day. For Karla Campos, who owns a web services company, that’s nothing. She says 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 also uses the phone to communicate with her 10-year-old son, but not necessarily when they are apart. She says their conversations are deeper on the phone, or through Facebook. Campos argues that this form of communication is better than none at all, and thinks the cell phone connects her family.
Dr. Mitch Spero, a child and family psychologist, disagrees, “I recommend keeping your mobile phone there for emergencies, but when you’re with someone, make them the priority in your life.” He says it’s common to see problems arise because of mobile phone use. “Cell phones should be used to improve our lives,” he warned, “not to destroy our interpersonal communication skills with those that we love.”
Kemshall found another interesting revelation: nearly half of the people surveyed by SecurEnvoy said they would be upset if their messages were viewed by their partner, and yet only a few take security measures to keep them private. “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 reveal though,” adds Kemshall, “is how much people now depend on their mobile phones. As people are increasingly connected, nomophobia will continue to rise, with millions of people needing to have their phones on them, and on at all times.”
Wondering if you have Nomophobia? The symptoms include: having multiple phones, constantly topping up your battery life, compulsively checking your phone for missed calls or messages, worrying about losing it even when it’s in a safe place, never turning it off, using it in inappropriate places and feeling panic and anxiety when separated from it.
Text adapted from RedOrbit.com (May 9, 2012)
fear: por / miedo
to poll: enquestar / encuestar
poll: enquesta / encuesta
misplace: perdre, extraviar / perder, extraviar
respondent: enquestat / encuestado
device: aparell /aparato
top up: carregar completament / cargar por completo
Part 1: Reading comprehension
Choose the best answer according to the text. Only ONE answer is correct.
1. Comparing the 2008 and the 2012 surveys, we see that
■ more people are afraid now of being without their mobile phone.
■ in 2008 the number of nomophobes was similar to this year.
■ in 2008 more people feared being without their mobile phones.
■ in 2012 the number of nomophobes did not increase.
2. According to the text, more women suffer from nomophobia probably because
■ a big percentage of men have two phones.
■ all men have two phones.
■ women usually have two phones.
■ women easily misplace their phones.
3. Which sentence is FALSE, according to the text?
■ One third of people older than fifty-five are nomophobic.
■ Nomophobia affects people of all ages, races and social classes.
■ Those who are fifty-five or older are the third most affected age group.
■ Young adults are the most nomophobic.
4. Karla Campos
■ talks to her son on the phone even when they are together.
■ has better communication with her family on the phone.
■ connects her family via mobile phone.
■ only communicates with her son through Facebook.
5. According to Dr Spero,
■ we should make mobile phones a priority in our life.
■ we should only use mobile phones in case of emergency.
■ we should prioritise people over mobile phones.
■ cell phones destroy communication with our loved ones.
6. Kemshall says that security in mobile phones needs to be improved because
■ lots of people use a phone for business purposes.
■ nobody likes having their messages viewed by others.
■ security measures don’t help keep messages private.
■ business people often view other people’s messages.
7. This study shows that
■ there will be lots more nomophobes in the future.
■ we don’t know how many people depend on their phones.
■ almost everybody will need to carry a phone in the future.
■ it is necessary to have our mobiles constantly on, these days.
8. Which of the following may indicate nomophobia?
■ Charging the phone’s battery all the time.
■ Worrying about having just one mobile phone.
■ Having many missed calls and messages.
■ Putting the phones in a safe place.