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Nomophobia: The Challenges of an Hyperconnected World


I was at the airport a few days ago.

Prior to getting on the plane I decided to use the toilets, to make sure that I didn't need to get up a few times during the flights and annoy whoever poor person sat on the isle seat. The urinals, as the planes seats, are getting smaller and closer to one another, so even without wanting to, you can but notice the person beside you.

No need to look to close to notice what's going on...especially when the person beside you is holding a smartphone while having a pee.

Yes, your read that correctly.

One hand on his thing, the other holding firmly the smartphone and scrolling something or other (I didn't want to look down for too long).

A couple of days ago I was in a shop that sold homeware and candles and things like that... and also a toilet holder with a wooden platform on top to hold your smartphone. (photo - not great - in this post)

Last night, when our for dinner with my wife, we sat beside a couple that spend all dinner on each other smartphone, occasionally laughing and showing each other's screen to quickly return to be absorbed by the device once again.

Today, sitting at a cafe', I watched a couple arriving and sitting a few tables away from us. He sat first, placed his phone on the table. She followed, placed her phone on the table. Within seconds, he got up to walk the 6 steps to the counter to order a coffee. Before leaving the table he grabbed the phone and kept it in his hand while asking for the two coffees and returning to his table (his wife had not moved.)

A couple of days ago, I interviewed Charlie Ryder for my Social Fabric Podcast and we spoke about creativity and a he told me about his new documentary that he's working on. Along the way, he mentioned a word that I never heard of: nomophobia. I asked him what it was, he gave me the broad lines.

Today I went and did a bit of research on what it is and what it is doing to us.

Here's a summary.

Nomophobia, the fear of being without or unable to use our mobile devices. The Impact of Nomophobia: Nomophobia has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, affecting individuals across age groups and professional backgrounds. It hampers productivity, personal relationships, mental well-being, and even physical health. Here are some key areas where nomophobia has taken a toll:

1. Productivity and Focus: Constant notifications and the temptation to check our smartphones regularly distract us from tasks at hand. This leads to decreased efficiency, increased stress, and a loss of productivity.

2. Mental Health: Over-reliance on smartphones can contribute to anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation. Excessive screen time can disrupt sleep patterns, negatively impacting our overall mental well-being.

3. Interpersonal Relationships: Nomophobia has strained personal relationships as people struggle to strike a balance between digital interactions and face-to-face connections.

4. Physical Health: Prolonged use of smartphones can cause various physical ailments such as eye strain, neck and back pain, and poor posture. Moreover, the sedentary nature of excessive screen time contributes to a more sedentary lifestyle overall. The few things that we can all do to avoid the bad effects are:

  • Awareness and Mindfulness:

  • Setting Boundaries

  • Healthy Habits

  • Digital Detoxes

The last one, possibly the best thing to do. And to spell it out digital detox basically mean, put the phone down.

For some life balance that doesn't require a device, get in touch for a coaching journey that could be of help.

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