Life As a Nomophobe and How to Deal
February 3, 2017
Are you a nomophobe? I might be! Recently I went nearly an entire week without a cell phone. I know, I know, amazing right? You’re probably thinking my mental fortitude is incredible isn’t it? Was it part of my New Year’s resolution for 2016? Well… um, sadly, no. My wife and I took a trip to the beach for a week sans kids. For perspective, this was our first trip in nearly two years without them. So, this was no ordinary trip.
On our first day at the beach, we decided to go snorkeling. What better way to unplug right? Well, apparently I wasn’t quite ready to totally unplug. As I snorkeled my way out around Watermelon Cay, I realized I had my cell phone in my bathing suit pocket about 50 yards from shore. I would try and explain why I had my non-waterproof phone with me, but there’s really no explanation. I’m a dummy.
Once I realized it was full of salt water, I went through several stages of grief. As you might imagine, my first emotion was sheer panic. And my first thought was, “OMFG, what have I done? I am on an island in the middle of nowhere, and I can’t communicate with anyone. How will I survive? Someone hold me.”
Naturally, my next stage was denial (and semi-optimism): “My phone will be OK. It was only in the water for ten minutes. I’ll just shake the water and the fish out of it. I’ll even put it in some rice for a day or so. It’ll be a little wonky. Maybe it won’t work so well in the beginning, but I’m sure I’ll be able to turn it on. Please God just allow me to see my fantasy football scores.”
Once I realized the phone was destined to be a super expensive paperweight, the next stage resembled straight-up depression: “It will never work again. What will I do without it? I need to start drinking more Painkillers. Should I use my phone as a stirrer?”
After I settled down and drank a few bottles of local rum, the final stage was acceptance. I even Googled “fear of life without a cell phone” on my Mac (remember, my phone is waterlogged). This was the first search result that popped up: Nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia). Oh yeah. It’s real. There have been a bunch of studies about how folks deal with life without a cell phone. Let’s face it: we are, as a human race, totally dependent on our mobile devices. There’s just no way around it. Oh and to be clear, I realized I’m a nomophobe too.
And if you think, “Oh no, that’s not me,” think again. There are apps out there that track how many times you pick up and check your phone per day. It also calculates your average screen time.
Here are some interesting facts:
|20%||people aged 18-34 who used a smartphone during sex|
|44%||Americans who check job-related emails while on vacation|
|62%||smartphone owners who have used their phones to get information about a health condition in the past year|
|57%||people who use their smartphone for online banking|
|46%||smartphone owners who say their smartphones are something “they couldn’t live without”|
|80%||of 18-24 year-olds sleep with their phones right next to them|
|110||average amount a person checks their phone per day, while the MUCH more addicted check up to 900 times a day!|
|12.1||average age of children when they receive their first mobile device|
|56%||number of children aged 8-12 who have a cell phone|
|30||number of texts a typical teen sends and receives per day|
So, if the average person checks their phone 52 times a day (according to the app Moment), I wanted to see how I stacked up. I used Moment for the last 60 days to see how I compared to the norm.
After 60 days I averaged 73 pickups per day (38% above the norm). My high pickup day over the two months was 107 times; my low pickup was 41. I do tend to actually use my phone less than the norm (only 2 hours and 43 minutes per day). I think the most depressing fact was that I pick up my phone every 12 minutes!
There was also a direct correlation to my high usage during the work week and my low usage on the weekends. On average, I used my phone a lot more during the week, which makes a lot of sense since my personal cell phone is also my business phone. I suppose that makes me slightly happier since it means I’m less inclined to look at it on the weekend when I’m with my family. I wonder if they would agree? So here are my stats.
Now that you’ve seen my stats, how do you stack up? Download the app and give it a try. My results were, admittedly, a bit surprising. And they further reinforced the extent to which we are mobile dependent. The fact that I spend 18% of my life on my phone seems crazy, but at some level, a necessity given the industry we work in.