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Welcome to Women Love Tech – an award-winning lifestyle technology site. Women Love Tech is passionate about supporting women in STEM. Making technology accessible for everyone by providing great tips, news, reviews, amazing apps & cool gadgets!

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Nearly All Of Us Suffer From Nomophobia. But What Is It? 

Michael Peres Journalist at Women Love Tech
Published on January 04, 2021
Nearly All Of Us Suffer From Nomophobia. But What Is It? 
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Nomophobia is the fear of being without a smartphone, or beyond mobile phone contact – and there’s a high chance you suffer from it. 

According to a Monash University study, we are addicted to our mobile phones and our inability to disconnect could be endangering our health. The Australia-first study, measuring nomophobia and its consequences, shows 99.2 per cent of users have some fear of being without their phone.

The study, Nomophobia: Is the Fear of Being without a Smartphone Associated with Problematic Use, was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Researchers from BehaviourWorks Australia, part of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI) surveyed 2838 Australians on their psychological attachment to their phone and usage habits. They found almost half of all participants (43.3 per cent) spent upwards of three hours a day on their phone. The more they used their phone, the higher their level of nomophobia and the greater their risk of problematic dependent, prohibited or dangerous usage. 

Young people aged 18 to 25 had the highest level of nomophobia and males were almost twice as likely to engage in dangerous use than females. 

In Australia, 84 per cent of the population has mobile phone internet access, and there are more mobile phone subscriptions than people (109.6 per 100 inhabitants).

The study found users with nomophobia were 11.7 times more likely to have a problematic phone dependency and 10.3 times more likely to use their phone in a prohibited space, like a library, classroom or cinema. They were also 14 times more likely to engage in dangerous use – such as while driving, cycling or walking.

The study found mobile phones cause friction between the digital and physical worlds. A user’s dependency on their phone for a sense of belonging, connectedness and social identity may even reduce their capacity to navigate social bonds offline. 

Lead researcher, PhD candidate Fareed Kaviani, said phones had become part of our lives, but they should be used with caution.

“I think we have habitualised the device into our lives, on both a structural and individual level,” said Kaviani. “The fear of being without one’s mobile phone may be a rational response when we have come to rely on them for staying in contact with friends and family, using the digital wallet, scanning QR codes for entry into venues, or to read shopping lists and access information.

“Use becomes problematic when the digital takes precedence, to the detriment of the physical. Habits are involuntary, and mindless engagement can continue in physical environments where use is prohibited, like the cinema or library, or even become dangerous, such as using a phone while driving or crossing the road. 

“If your smartphone use is having a deleterious impact on the physical and/or psychological health of yourself or those around you, then that is a problem. But I think the device, if used mindfully, can be a complement to the supercomputer we already carry around in our heads.” 

Read more about Mr Kaviani’s research here.

Michael Peres is the founder of various tech startups, pioneer behind the Breaking 9 To 5 business model, and a contributing writer for Women Love Tech where he features entrepreneurs, celebrities and artists. Peres was diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities when he was young. Over the years, he’s managed to develop his own unorthodox methods of functioning which has spawned a movement helping other aspiring entrepreneurs devise their own means of weaponizing perceived limitations. Essentially, Peres believes in promoting a mindset toward business where horizons are boundless.
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