Nomophobia: what are the risks? How do you stop being addicted to your cell phone?

Do you feel anxious when your mobile phone is away from you? Then you may be plagued by nomophobia. In France, according to INSEE, more than 9 out of 10 people (95% of over 15 years) own a mobile phone. Text messages, emails, music, social networks, photos, movies and series, weather, GPS, online games … On average, we consult it 221 times a day. If the appearance of this tool in everyday life has brought many benefits, it also raises some issues.

What is nomophobia?

The term “nomophobia” comes from the contraction of the English “no mobile phobia”. It denotes, as the name suggests, fear of not having your phone at hand. Its use has been democratized since the publication of a study by YouGov in 2008 for The British Post Officeaccording to which 53% of smartphone users have symptoms of anxiety in case of loss, poor network coverage or low battery. And according to a study commissioned by Bouygues Telecom in 2018, 62% of French people can not do without their phone for a whole day. Nomophobia translates to a panic attack at the thought of:

  • lose or forget your phone ;
  • break his phone;
  • to have his phone stolen;
  • of runs out of battery ;
  • of do not have an internet network
  • or not being able to use an application that works significantly at any given time.

This disorder is still not listed in the DSM-V (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but it is well thought out. a “disease” in the modern worldlinked to the development of social networks and virtual communication.

Who are the people most affected by nomophobia?

The first affected by nomophobia are teenagers and under 25 years, but also some hyper-connected professionals. The first because nomophobia translates the underlying fear of being isolated from a group. The latter, it is rather performance anxiety that compels them to be constantly available in the course of their work.

Addiction perhaps more or less pronounced, possiblys several attitudes can put you in the ear:

  • consult your smartphone as soon as you wake up and have eyes constantly riveted on his smartphone (on the street, in transport, in shops, in restaurants, etc.);
  • turn your smartphone on and off every 5 minutes;
  • scroll without thinking – and for hours – about applications and withdraw into oneself;
  • to feel the need to have your phone on you at all times answering telephone, e-mails, messages;
  • constantly listen to music, videos, podcasts or play online games via your smartphone;
  • constantly calling those around you for anecdotes or just for the pleasure of speaking;
  • feels panic when his laptop is no longer visible or the battery drains quickly;
  • identify unpleasant tension in the thumb joint (Quervain’s tendonitis).

What Causes Phone Addiction?

The development of nomophobia is directly related to the growing reliance on information and the immediacy of interactionsfavored by social networks.

This phenomenon can also be linked to certain personality traits that are more susceptible to the reward system. That anxious people by nature, or exposed to disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder are also more likely to become addicted to cell phones.

What are the different risks associated with using a smartphone?

Nomophobia can have several health consequences, both physical and mental. Numerous studies conducted since 2008 emphasize that 18-25 year olds are particularly prone to suffer from:

  • social isolation;
  • digital burnout;
  • intolerance to frustrations in real life;
  • ophthalmic migraine;
  • sleep disorders;
  • hearing loss;
  • musculoskeletal disorders (hand, thumb, elbow, shoulders, cervical);
  • a decrease in certain cognitive abilities, such as memory, language, attention, and concentration;
  • but also a decrease in self-esteem.

According to a study by Monash University (Australia), published in the journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by 2020, nomophobia would even be leads to dangerous or even illegal behavior, like using your mobile phone while driving. A total of 99.2% of the participants in this study reported some form of nomophobia or some degree of fear of not having their smartphone with them. More than eight out of ten volunteers had a mild to moderate level of nomophobia, but no less than 13.2% of the sample were considered to suffer from severe nomophobia (source 1).

Our results prove that the fear of not having one’s mobile phone can lead to problematic addictive, prohibited or dangerous use, each of which can pose significant health risks, such as overuse, antisocial use or use ruthless and physically compromising, the researchers conclude.

A life without a smartphone? It seems hard to imagine these days. Fortunately, there are no drastic measures in place to limit the use of his mobile phone. Multiple reflexes make it possible to fjols nomophobi.

Pay attention to your emotions when looking at your phone

When we check smartphone, which happens several dozen to several hundred times a day, we rarely pay attention to how we feel because we perform this check mechanically. However, the fact regarding Focus on the emotions you feel when checking your phone can help to become aware of what is hiding behind: is there a need to overcome boredom? fear of loneliness? just a reflex? Do we get better or worse at checking email or social media notifications? These are some questions that allow us to learn about the connection we have with technology.

Plan your time and set rules to avoid addiction

Without realizing it, we can spend several minutes to several hours a day staring at our smartphone. So much time that makes us miss important family moments that make us eat too fast or lose efficiency. Researchers at the University of South Carolina recommendset up a schedule for using the phone (by only allowing yourself to see it once an hour, for example),use controller applications (Oneward, AppDetox, Checky, etc.) who coach us, or to comply with certain rules, e.g. Do not use our smartphone at the tableor let him be out of the bedroom.

Charge your phone in another room

Whether you are at work, with your family or going to bed when your smartphone indicates “low battery”, it is easy and tempting to connect your phone to a nearby electrical outlet, to keep it tight. A good way to self-regulate and become aware of potential addiction is to force yourself to charge your phone in another roomor at least within a few meters range.

This simple advice is all the more important at bedtime because the blue light that screens emit interferes with the secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Leave the smartphone out of the bedroom is a great way to reclaim this place, too preserve it from negative waves, literally and figuratively, and to get rid of this state of overstimulation of the mind’s enemy of restful sleep.

Other tips to reduce the use of your laptop

  • Restrict notifications in your settings: applications compete with calls to lure us into their networks. By choosing the banner style and the regularity of the notifications, you limit the temptation.
  • Delete your social media apps and consult directly Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. from your smartphone browser
  • Treat yourself to screens without breaks: when no imperative limits you, go shopping or go for a walk with your hands in your pocket.
  • In the restaurant, in the evening, when you share a moment with your family or colleagues, Keep your phone in a jacket pocket or bagnot on the table.
  • Bet on the “sleep mode” of your laptop: before going to sleep, switch to flight mode and even better, move it away so as not to be tempted to consult it at night.
  • To avoid throwing yourself on your laptop as soon as you wake up, invest in a real alarm clock. And while we’re at it, remember to check your watch in front of the home screen of your laptop.
  • In the morning, resist the urge to grab your laptop immediately. Take time to wake up and get ready before consulting him. The most experienced can wait until they leave their home, or even arrive at work to disable flight mode.
  • Another tip: diversify the sources of well-being such as sports, excursions with family and friends and engaging in activities such as yoga, relaxation and meditation.

In video: It is possible to limit screen consumption!

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