Nomophobia: The Rising Trend of Nondrug Addiction Among Students

Nomophobia: The Rising Trend of Nondrug Addiction Among Students
By Ahmad Amirali

Recently, I come across an article on ResearchGate and learn about the term ‘Nomophobia’ that, in my surprise, relates to a well-known issue mostly common among school and college-going students. However, this issue is now on the rise and getting more addicted and severe nowadays. Can you guess the issue? Alright, Let’s have an example, among high school and college students, what is the only thing without which students, nowadays, can’t even imagine to live? Yes, their cellular devices or in Asian context the most common term is ‘Mobile Phone’. The research highlighted that the average adolescent would rather lose a ‘pinky-finger’ than a cell phone. The result of this addiction is a growing percentage text or tweet instead of talking to others. This phenomenon of this weird cell-phone addiction among teens and youth is known as ‘Nomophobia’. It is the irrational fear of being without your cell phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power.

According to a news article from the UK, The term Nomophobia is an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia,” which was coined during a 2010 study by the UK Post Office. The Post Office commissioned YouGov, a research organisation, to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users. The study found that nearly 53 per cent of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they ‘lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage.’ While I was reading the article over articles about this issue, I was reflecting all of my teaching sessions from previous years, where students were unable to resist the use of their cellular devices.

There is a reason why researchers call this ‘obsession for cell phones’ as irrational fear because one cannot imagine him/herself without the cell phone when they have faith that cell phone is the only way to stay connected with the world – digitally. Although it’s not TRUE. However, being with your phone at all times is an obsession that occupies every waking minute. The following are the warning signs that you have Nomophobia:

  • An inability to ever turn your phone off
  • Obsessively checking for missed calls, emails and texts
  • Constantly topping up your battery life
  • Being unable to pop to the bathroom without taking your phone in with you.

We, teachers and parents, usually witnessed such weird behaviour of our kids when they give importance to material and invaluable stuff over their own health and life. The question we always asked from ourselves what makes them value certain material things over their invaluable things like health? Today, our children are living in a space-age, which is way faster than our time. Today, cellular devices are no longer known for communicating and texting purposes. It is now considered as one of the most versatile socialising tools, especially for school and college-going students. (Previous Article: How Risky the Teenage Obsession of Social Media Is) However, there are some suggested ways through which parents and teachers can model a balanced approach for teens:

  • Advice students to make sure there are daily times when they turn off their cell phones and experience either face-to-face conversations or solitude.
  • Teach students to balance screen time and in-person time each week. For every hour they invest in front of a screen, they invest in human contact.
  • Advice students to place their phone at least 15 feet away from them when they sleep at night.
  • Advice students to block their day in time zones, where they spend time using technology, but also have blocks of time for organic, genuine interaction with people.

Remember, students, the best life you’ll going to remember in your adulthood would be the life full of memories. Memories not full of snapchat, WhatsApp messages or Instagram posts. The memories full of ‘time-well-spent’ moments, ‘miss-you-to-the-moon-and-back’ moments and ‘live-forever’ moments with your friends and families. This way, you will proudly say to yourself one day that ‘Yes, my childhood, teenage and youth are full of memories, and I am going to live these moments till the last breath’.

Live your life, HUMANLY 🙂

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