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HEREDIA: Are you nomophobic?

Dr. Kristin Heredia
Dr. Kristin Heredia

I was recently reading an article about nomophobia, which is the phobia of being out of cellphone contact.

I began to reflect. I have a cellphone and I am the first one to admit I am on it a lot. I am able to do work, check my email, pay bills, read news, stay current on local weather, shop, browse my social media and countless other things. It moves from room-to-room with me when I am at home. If I leave the house without my phone I feel a little anxious and I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

Why does this happen? Many generations lived many years successfully without a cellphone. I lived a lot of years where I had to wait in line to call my parents on a pay phone for a ride home. I used to have to wait to talk to people until I returned home to call them and I would be lucky if I didn’t get a busy signal for an hour. These issues are near extinction. When we do not have this device constantly at our fingertips it causes emotional stress. Not only does it cause anxiety in some people but I have witnessed people have legit panic attacks because they do not have access to their cellphone for one reason or another. Are people today addicted to constant connectivity?

Phones allow us to have instant access to information and are an instant communication source, which is great, but at what point is it too much? I love documenting memorable moments with my family and friends. I use my phone to take pictures and videos then I can instantly upload and archive them. It is almost an obsession to make sure I document as much as I can for my kids but in doing so I sometimes feel that I don't get to just sit back and enjoy and to live in the moment with them.

Phones are supposed to make us all more connected but when I observe general environments it doesn't seem like people are connecting with their surroundings. I observe students in the lunchroom who are all sitting at the same table and they are all on their phones and not paying any attention to one another. I have attended dinners where people spend a vast majority of their time on their phones instead of engaging in social conversation. On a daily basis I see people walk down hallways or on sidewalks bumping into each other because they are looking at their phones. I have attended meetings and attendees’ phones take precedence over agendas. I watch parents at parks sit on the benches with eyeballs on their phones instead of pushing their children on the swing or spending time with them. I watch children at restaurants playing on their parents’ phones instead of observing their environment or conversing with their family. What is happening to us?

Are any of us taking advantage of living in the moment anymore? Why are we letting phones be the center of our universe? We seem to put a lot of emphasis on cellphones and using them in our everyday lives. The NY Post reported people check their phones an average of 80 times per day. That is an average!

We often set technology guidelines for our children, but why aren’t we setting cellphone guidelines for ourselves? Reflect on what is important to you and if your cellphone use is getting in the way of that then you need to set some cellphone guidelines for yourself to promote health and happiness in your life.

  • DR. KRISTIN HEREDIA lives in Ottawa and is loving everything life has to offer. She can be reached by emailing stephanies@mywebtimes.com.

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