The Fear of Missing Out (Taking the Electronics Out of Your Life)

I think it’s safe to say almost every person today has some type of electronic device, just look around; from smart phones to I pads and computers… our lives depend on them, or so we think. If not individuals, companies rely on computers in order to be more efficient. I remember using carbon paper, back in the day when you needed copies of a document; you would slip it behind the sheet of paper you were typing out, then another piece behind the carbon. Sounds funny doesn’t it? But computers do make things more efficient in our daily lives; whether we send documents through email, paying bills online or making copies… it’s all less tedious than using a type writer, stamps and carbon paper to get the job done. So what about those emails and social media sites? Have you ever seen someone freak out because they couldn’t retrieve their email, as they were expecting an important document to be sent this way? I have… I’ve been in a library where someone was trying to fill out a job application (as it was the only way to apply today), and the computer froze half way through the process; this has also happened to me. One just freaks out… and instantly becomes anxious. There’s nothing like a jump start to your heart. It’s difficult to be without a computer these days, and the minute one gets a virus (the computer that is), you may panic, especially if you need to do work on it. No one wants to leave it somewhere for repair; this leaves you with more anxiety; it’s a fear of being without.

So how do you think you’d fare if you left your cell phone at home for the day… or even a week? You just might suffer from nomophobia. Yes, this is very real. Nomophobia is the fear of being without your mobile phone. It is a very real anxiety for those that clutch to their devices 24/7. There have been multiple studies done in order to see how obsessed we are with our smartphones. One particular survey showed that 73% felt panic when misplacing their mobile phone, making 7% of them really ill (according to cnet). The majority of people check their phones for messages about every hour through the course of a day. Through multiple studies done by different companies, numbers vary as to the fear and anxieties that affect Americans today, but the range is every bit similar, being on the higher scale as far as percentages.

College students rank among the highest when it comes to fear of being without their mobile device. This is their way of communication, texting and tweeting all day long instead of talking face to face. In fact, in more recent studies done, it shows that students now shower with their phones; not to mention sleeping with them. More than half never turn off their devices; I believe they are ‘addicted’ to their phone. While we are well aware of the younger generation having these problems, it still remains a universal problem in society everywhere. The fear of being without that device comes with a price. It hinders those in the workforce, proving that if one forgets their phone at home… they are unable to concentrate on the job or even hold a conversation well, as they suffer from anxiety and despair; they fear that they are missing out on something.

In my research I found a “Center for Internet and Technology Addiction” which was founded by Greenfield. It is all very real for people today. The more I read, the more I gave it thought. I think it’s sad that we’ve become a society that can’t live without our smartphones and suffer from “Nomophobia”… which stands for no-mobile-phone-phobia. While it’s a techno savvy world and we depend on it, it’s obvious that it comes with a personal price. A funny thing happened after I decided to write this. I had to run an errand, last minute, and realized I forgot my phone; as I slammed on the brakes about a block away… (Thinking Id turn around), I laughed briefly, while thinking about this article, and continued on without my phone. It actually felt good… and I recommend trying this, to all of you that think they can’t live without.

Make your week count.

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