Nomophobia – the fear and anxiety of being without your mobile phone

27 Aug 2013

Half of the world’s mobile phone users suffer from ‘nomophobia’ – the fear of being without their phone or not having coverage.

A study by email security provider AppRiver found that more than 54pc of mobile phone owners admit to suffering from the condition, with women 17pc more likely to suffer from nomophobia than men.

The study of 1,000 workers found that people are so obsessed with the need to be connected to their mobile phones that 42pc take them to the beach with them while on holidays.

Future Human

Some 28pc of phone owners will look at their work emails while away from home, with men more eager to catch their emails than women.

Behind closed doors

Even in the bedroom – that haven of relaxation – the pesky mobile phone is interrupting proceedings.

Some 17pc of people check their emails in bed while 25pc feed their email or text addiction during a dinner date.

Women are 10pc more likely to check their email or texts during a dinner date than men.

Only half of mobile users actually bother to secure their devices with a password or any form of security, and 70pc of owners have no way to remotely wipe the devices if they become lost or stolen.

“It’s pretty clear that we’re a society totally reliant on our phones not only for personal use but business use, too,” explained Fred Touchette, senior security analyst with AppRiver.

“Even when we’re away on holiday, lying in bed or on a dinner date, many of us just can’t help looking at our emails, no matter what time of day or the situation. 

“What worries me is that, with so much information stored on them – from confidential office documents, contact details, emails, photos, bank logins, etc, when these devices get lost or stolen and end up in the wrong hands, the information is so easily exploited, as little to any security precautions are taken.

“Our advice is always to protect your phone with security – at the very least with a password, and if you’re using it for work get your IT department to secure it with encryption or, even better, the ability to wipe it remotely,” Touchette said.

Anxiety image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years