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Nomophobia is a new word that's being coined
to describe no mobile phobia
and it's the idea that a lot of us,
in thinking about not having our phones,
experience something like a phobia and this is supposed to
describe hundreds of millions of people today
and I'm sure that number is growing at the moment.
What that means is that when you think about,
for example, your phone falling out of your pocket,
tumbling to the ground and shattering into a million pieces,
you should experience anxiety symptom
and it's especially true among young people.
I ran a study at one point where I asked young people,
a whole lot of teenagers, a very simple question.
I said to them,
"Imagine you have this very unpleasant choice.
So, you can either watch your phone tumble to the ground
and shatter into a million pieces
or you can have a small bone in your hand broken."
Now, that seems to people of a certain age and older
like a fairly straightforward question
with a straightforward answer.
It seems ridiculous.
Of course you choose to save the integrity of your hand
and let your phone break.
You can always replace a phone, but for young people
this is actually a very difficult question.
In my experience, about 40% - 50% of them will say,
"Ultimately, I think it probably makes more sense
to have a bone in my hand broken
than it does to have my phone broken."
And, you can understand why that is, apart from the fact
that it is expensive to have a phone repaired
and there's some time where you're without your phone,
that is their portal to a social world
that is very important to them.
Being without that social world for a while
is probably not as detrimental in some aspects
as being without a particular bone in your hand.
Most of the time, you can get by and you can see this
in the way they ask follow-up questions.
So, a lot of these teens will say to me things like,
"Is it my left hand or my right hand?"
and the most important question,
"Once I break that bone in my hand,
can I still use my phone?
Is it a bone that I need to be able to scroll on the phone,
because if it is, then that's no deal,
but if it's not a bone that I need to use my screen
at least I can continue to use my phone
during the time I'm healing."
If people are willing to endure physical harm
to keep their phones that obviously suggests
that this is a major issue.
The definition that I like for behavioral addiction
that makes the most sense to me is an experience
that we return to compulsively over and over again
because it feels good in a short run but in the long run,
it ultimately undermines our well-being in some respect.
So, it can be someone who notices that over time
their social relationships are degrading
because they don't have a consistent, face-to-face contact
with people and that's especially problematic for kids
who need time in that real face-to-face social world
because that's where they develop
all the competencies of being a social creature.
The way to work out what other people are thinking,
to share your feelings in a way
that you want them to be shared
for other people to understand you
for you to make just the right facial expressions at just the right times.
Those seem like obvious and easy-to-do things
for most adults but for kids it's very difficult to do that.
They take time to hone those skills
and so you need face-to-face time to do that
and if you don't have that, if you're spending all your time
on screens because it's really fun to crush one more candy
on Candy Crush or do whatever it is that you might be doing,
you're not developing those long-term competencies
and therefore your long-term well-being is degraded.
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Would You Rather Break a Bone or Lose Your Phone?

8537 Folder Collection
HsiangLanLee published on August 15, 2018    HsiangLanLee translated    reviewed
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