Nomophobia: Technological Curse of Modern Society
Escaping the real world and enslaving to the virtual world...
By: Dr. Rohi
The essence of the human species is sociality. Our social bonds used to be fairly strong. We used to connect with one another in person rather frequently. Our society’s social fabric has fallen apart as a result of growing urbanisation, migration and the rise in nuclear families creating a vacuum – like condition. With the aid of social media where we are connected to others almost constantly, smartphones have successfully filled this need. The evolution of smartphones have, of course, made our lives more convenient and comfortable.
Everything today is available at the option of a click. The benefits associated with smartphones cannot be denied as they have become part and parcel of life. Currently, we have tens of thousands of friends on Facebook, thousands of followers on Instagram and many others on other applications, but we may only actually communicate with a small number of them. Because of the constant pressure to stay active on social media platforms, we frequently use our phones non-stop, which is causing Nomophobia- a problem for us.
Smart phones, mostly among the youth, actually have become a significant component of techno-culture and are possibly the biggest non-drug addiction worldwide. The discomfort or anxiety that might be brought on by not having a mobile phone is called as Nomophobia, a portmanteau for “no mobile phone phobia”. The phobia arises when a person feels they cannot send or receive text messages, not able to make phone conversations, loosing internet connectivity, being unable to access social networking sites and access information online, run out of battery or credit etc.
This phobia has developed as computers and mobile phones have advanced technologically and become more adaptable in terms of communications and applications. Due to quick connection and reward that smart phones offer, nomophobia emerged as a condition turning into compulsive and addictive behaviour. People who are hooked to using their phones avoid feared situations. The increasing use of new technologies and virtual communication via personal computers, tablets, mobile phones are changing the daily routines and behaviour of youngsters. As a result, they lack intellectual thinking skills, their chances to be successful decreases. Nomophobia has also been related to feeling of loneliness, aggression and difficulty in handling emotions. It also affects the overall quality of life.
Even the anxiety over being without a mobile device is frequently interpreted as an indication of problematic digital device use, which some experts say have a negative effect on mental health and wellbeing. The continuous and massive use of mobile phones may have short term negative effects like increased distraction, but it may also have long term effects like aggravating pre – existing mental health conditions or fostering behavioural addiction. It has been seen that younger people are spending more than 10 hours per day on their mobile phones, which lead to addiction.
We’ve grown so reliant on our mobile devices that the idea of being separated from our family photos, connections, money and identities – is at once, incomprehensible.
Needless to say that we are powerless to resist the effect of contemporary technology. It is changing and new difficulties are constantly emerging as a result of technological innovation. We have to stay in the real world rather than the virtual one. Human- human contacts and face to face connections must be re-established. Although, completely giving up cell phones is unachievable, but limiting the use of mobile phones and setting up boundaries on how much of your life your phone can control. It is a good idea to take a break from your phone occasionally, engage in activities away from it and keep yourself busy than mindlessly playing on your phone. Parents should also devise such mechanisms to motivate their children to participate in outdoor games, social gatherings and outings.
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Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.