Nomophobia, the New Fear Troubling Phone Users

February 18, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. dependent (adj.) 
[dih-pen-duhnt] – needing something or someone for support, help or comfort
Example: Babies are dependent on their parents for food.

2.  phobia (n.) [foh-bee-uh] – very strong fear of something
Example: Shy people have a phobia of talking in front of many people. 

3. anxious (adj.) [angk-shuhs, ang-] –worried or afraid about what may happen in the future
Example: Mothers are often anxious when their children are out late at night.

4. security blanket (idiom) [si-kyoor-i-tee][blang-kit] – something or someone that makes one feel safe and comfortable
Example: Credit cards can be a security blanket to people who are afraid of running out of cash.

5. prevalent (adj.) [prev-uh-luhnt] – common or happening in a lot of places, experienced by a lot of people
Example: The use of English in business meetings has become prevalent these days.

Read the text below.

Today’s technology-dependent world has created a new mental illness called “nomophobia.” Nomophobia is a shortened term for “no mobile phone phobia,” or in other words, the fear of being without a phone.

A recent online survey conducted by Internet security company SecurEnvoy confirms a rise in the number of nomophobes or people who have nomophobia. Out of the 1,000 participants in the UK study, 66% were found to be nomophobic. The highest number of nomophobes came from the 18 to 24 age group.

Psychologist Michael Gregg-Carr says that nomophobes get very worried or scared when they lose their phones. Some people get so anxious that they skip school or work just to look for their misplaced phones.

For some, mobile phones have become security blankets that assure connection with friends 24 hours a day. Others even go to bed with their mobile phones beside them, treating phones like teddy bears children sleep with at night.

But dependence on mobile phones can be dangerous. A study of university students in India revealed that 25% of nomophobes have gotten into minor accidents while using their phones. Students reported suffering from lack of sleep and thumb pain from too much texting. Experts say this kind of phone addiction likely leads to nomophobia.

While nomophobia is not yet officially recognized as a mental illness, it has become so prevalent that experts in countries like India, the world’s largest phone market, are doing more scientific research on it.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 
·         What gadget can’t you live without? What makes it so important?
·         How can people be less dependent on technology?

Discussion B 
·         Do you have a phobia? What are you most afraid of?
·         What are good ways of getting over one’s fear?


February 18, 2013