Mobile phone use has become so embedded in our daily lives that for most of us it is hard to imagine being without one. Phones are clearly not all bad — as a highly social species we benefit from the sense of connectedness our phones give us, not to mention the practical value of easily being able to contact anyone we choose over long distances. However, the omnipresence of mobile technology has brought with it some fascinating, and slightly disturbing, new psychological problems. Two of these are nomophobia and phantom vibration syndrome.
‘Nomophobia’ (short for no-mobilephone phobia) means fear of being out of phone contact. Signs include keeping one’s phone visible at all times and decreased face-to-face interaction with physically present others. This is accompanied by worries of missing an important call or text (ringxiety). It might sound ridiculous and mildly amusing, but there is convincing data linking nomophobia-related inattention to car crashes (Datta et al. 2016).
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