Over the years, mobile phones have become necessities—something that is vital for our daily living. But if you take a look back in the past decade or two, people manage their lives without the use of any handheld electronic device. But today, they have taken over humanity, hence, the birth of nomophobia (no mobile phone phobia). We seemingly can’t live without them anymore.
Yes, we have seen them walking amongst us—the people who make their mobile phones the center of their lives. They keep on tapping and tapping as they walk down the streets, only to break their solid gaze from their phones the moment they bump into another person or whenever they hear the screeching of tires brought about by cars trying to avoid them. And this habit is already turning out to be annoying.
According to Dr. Simon Hampton, psychology lecturer at the University of East Anglia, “People’s inability to leave their phones alone is the newest addition to common ‘displacement’ behaviors such as smoking, doodling, fiddling with objects, and picking at food.” Instead of doing something else, we’re forced to turn to our mobile phones for reassuring comfort.
To make things worse, more and more of the handsets that are being used by people are becoming smarter. Smartphones are devices that can perform almost any task, and this vast functionality has even doubled the incidence of nomophobia. With that single device, a person can communicate, connect to the web, play music with his mobile earphones, entertain himself with games, connect via social media, manage his finances, do business, and a whole lot more. With all these, there appears to be no reason to disconnect from that all-around contraption.
Concerns have been raised about this ongoing issue. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the blame to mindless smartphone usage for an 8% rise in the number of American pedestrians killed in road accidents between 2009 and 2011. Furthermore, psychologists believe that the effect of dependence to technology, particularly with handheld devices, to young people is already disturbing. It turns out to inhibit their communication skills. And if those aren’t enough, the impact of this engrossment to nonstop smartphone usage to etiquette has gone to greater heights. It is now common to see people fiddling with their phones while in the company of their friends.
This new-found habit shows to be so beneficial to online businesses. “This mildly compulsive behavior might be exploited to encourage purchasing, particularly as digital increasing blurs the lines between shopping and entertainment,” Hampton said. As we see it, we’re led into the clutches of those sharks who feast on what turns out be our waterloo—mindless spending. But this shouldn’t be the case; we must pull ourselves together and take control over our “conscious” decisions.
As for my final words: indubitably, technology greatly helps us in one way or another, but we must not forget never to miss out on what’s really important—our life.