We’ve all experienced that fleeting moment of panic when we can’t find our mobile phone: frenetically patting ourselves down in a desperate bid to locate the device. Severe sufferers of the ‘missing mobile’ effect may, in fact, be burdened with a medically recognised condition: Nomophobia which is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.
2 in 3 Brits are said to suffer from a mild form of this malaise, which is said to be rooted in our fear of isolation and exclusion from groups and communities. Put simply, we feel a schism between ourselves and the rest of society if we’ve lost our mobile.
This fear of disconnection has been intensified by the rise of social networking, which acts as an extension of our physical communities: a kind of meta-village to which we all want to belong. All the major mobile phone vendors are now selling phones with Facebook and Twitter woven into the handset’s interface, strengthening further our bond with our mobiles.
The condition of Nomophobia was officially recognised in 2008 by a team of researchers in the UK who believe that the phenomenon is on the rise; as our lives become increasingly dependent on our smartphones.
For many people of course the idea of being completely uncontactable is bordering on nirvana, with people willing to pay thousands of pounds for a week or two of ‘unplugged’ solitude: Fleeing the drone of our digital lives.
The synergistic relationship between man and mobile has influenced our behaviour in countless ways, whether these affects are viewed as a positive (or a curse) is a question which could be debated ad infinitum.