Nomophobia and other technology-induced fears

Fear of losing your mobile device is just one of a number of new phobias that the rapid pace of technological advance has birthed

Does the fear of losing your mobile device - or dropping it in a urinal - keep you awake at night?

This may not be news to you, but I just recently learned about nomophobia. Apparently it’s a real phobia that has nothing to do with this guy (that was my first thought). No, it turns out that it stands for NO MObile phone phobia, the fear of losing or being out of contact with your mobile phone.

Did your heart skip a beat when you read that? Then you may suffer from it. Seek professional help immediately.

Seriously, though, there is some empirical evidence that this is a real problem. A recent survey of 1,000 people in the UK found that 66% of them feared losing or being without their mobile devices. Now, I’m no Dr. Bob Hartley, or even (despite the name) Dr. Phil, so I’m not sure if a mild fear of not having a mobile phone can be diagnosed as a real phobia. All the same, I don’t doubt that there are some people who take their attachments to their phones to the extreme and might suffer from a real affliction. In any case, the results of the survey are interesting and telling about how attached we are to our mobile devices.

No comment, of course, on whether I may suffer from nomophobia. But even if I did, my iPhone was once stolen right out of my hand, causing quite a bit of psychological scarring, so I have an excuse.

It got me to thinking, though, about how recent innovations in technology may be leading to this and other types of new phobias that Dr. Freud could never have imagined. I’m just thinking out loud here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the following phobias are now affecting other people (not just me):

Loremophobia - The fear of LOsing the REMOte. OK, not a new phobia, but still technology related. I’ve had many a moment of high panic when I sit down to watch some football or the latest episode of Honey Boo Boo and the TV/cable remote is completely AWOL. Usually, it’s because the kids just kicked it way under the couch (or stuck it in the freezer) but, nonetheless, when it doesn’t turn up quickly I break into a cold sweat.

Drosmartoiphobia - The fear of DROpping your SMARTphone in the TOIlet. Gents, I believe you know what I’m talking about. You find yourself answering nature’s call while simultaneously checking the football scores and, golly, it wouldn’t take much to drop that prized possession into the blue water, now would it? It’s much rarer for the ladies to suffer from this affliction.

Drosmarturphobia - The fear of DROpping your SMARTphone in the URinal; a sub-phobia of Drosmartoiphobia. Again, mostly a problem for guys. I’m not sure if the advent waterless urinals makes this phobia better or worse.

Foransequephobia: The fear of FORgetting the ANswer to your SEcret QUEstion - you know, the one that you have to answer if you forget your password? Clearly, Eric was the name of your best friend in elementary school, right? Well, unless you count Ron. You guys were tight too, at one point, weren't you? Crap. Actually, in these days of two-step authentication and password-management tools, this phobia is quickly being replaced by…

Formaspassphobia: The fear of FORgetting your MASter PASSword to your password-management application. I don’t want to say this is a particular problem for me, but I’m seriously considering getting a safe deposit box to store a written copy of mine.

Biemusgetosmartphobia – The fear of Justin BIEber MUSic GETting On your SMARTphone. This one might only ever apply to me, since our tweenaged daughters use my Apple ID to buy their music. This one keeps me awake more nights than anything else.

Surely there are other new technology-induced phobias out there that I’m not aware of, but that afflict other people (like you!). Please share them in the comments so we can all be aware!

This story, "Nomophobia and other technology-induced fears" was originally published by ITworld.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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