08 May 2012

So it's come to this?

Do you suffer from Nomophobia?  66% of people polled say they do.  What is this horrible fear that have afflicted people?

Fear of being without your cell phone

Seriously.  Now I can relate to this as I use my phone all the time: E-mail, Calendar, texting, FaceBook, G+, GPS, etc.  I have had those moments when I'm getting in the car and realize I left my phone on my desk inside and run in to get it or I have the "phantom vibration" and check my phone, realizing that no one just texted me.  But a fear of being without it?  Maybe at one time in the past...maybe.

Over the past 2 years, I have actually learned to disconnect from it.  Leaving it in the office on the charger when I'm spending time with my girls or watching a movie or just doing something that I don't want to be distracted.  Or I leave it in the car when I'm out playing at the park.

How did we evolve into this?  What is it that makes us feel we have to be constantly connected or available.  That 75% of people feel the need to bring it into the bathroom with them.  I stop myself at that point.  I had an earlier post about how people have not spoken to an actual person for 2 days and rely on other technologies to communicate.  What has technology does to us?

Going back to the "how did we" question, I have a few theories and I don't think any single one explains it, but a combination of them do.  Information moves so fast today that we feel "out of touch" when we don't know what has happened in the world.  Think about the time when someone says to you, "I can't believe that so-and-so is marrying that person" or "Can you believe what happened in random-country".  You think, how did I miss that?  Then there is the instant contact with people over the phone or more likely texting.  How many times have you texted someone and they don't get back with you in 10 minutes, so you send a folow up text "Are you ok?"  I guess this goes back to the instant information part.  Then, there's Facebook, G+, Foursquare, etc.  I'm guilty of checking in at places on Facebook.  I like the interaction with others who post comments about the restaurant I just ate at or the movie I just saw.  Not about to post a check in from my bathroom though (ewww).  Then, there are the games and other apps on your phone.  How many times have you been waiting somewhere (in line at the grocery store or a doctor's office) and you pull out your phone to play Angry Birds or Words with Friends.  Yeah, my hand is raised on that one.  I compare this with a cigarette addiction.  People are addicted to the nicotine, but also become addicted to the process of smoking.  Holding the cigarette, lighting it, etc.  A cell phone is like that,  People unconsciously check their phone all the time, for no reason (yeah, I've done that too).

It's just so damn convenient.  All that information, all those games and apps, all that communication in a small hand-held device.  But, to fear not having it?  Not me, probably in the past, but I take the time to disconnect.  The earth will still spin and rotate around the sun.  The celebrity gossip will still be out there and in a month no one will care, the text asking you "How you doing" will still be able to be answered after you finish playing with the kids.  If you think you have Nomophobia are going down that path, set aside "disconnect time" and do the rest of that life thing without the phone.

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