Nomophobia — the fear of having no mobile phone with you — is a huge problem. We’ve spoken about it, toyed with the idea that “yes, maybe I use my phone too much” or “maybe sleeping with my phone isn’t the best idea”, but there has never been a concrete way to tell. After all, everyone else seems to have the same behaviour patterns where mobile phones are concerned.
Now, Iowa State University has created a 20-question survey that can be used to measure the level of smartphone dependence of a person. The test was initially published on Huffington Post; I gave it a go and scored myself a 107 — which means I suffer from severe nomophobia. You can take the test below.
I’m not surprised by my results: after all, my life is on my smartphone. I write for a digital lifestyle publication that requires me to download apps, and (quite literally) have my fingers on the pulse of the digital world — not that I’m complaining. Singapore is also number one in the world in terms of the rate of smartphone adoption; we use an average of 3.3 devices each. Most Internet users in Singapore go online every day — this figure includes 78% of mature smartphone users aged 55 years and older).
With our economy moving rapidly into the mobile space, and e-commerce making way for m-commerce, is nomophobia really a bad thing that needs to be fixed? Or is it merely a side-effect of society’s advancement into a better world?
Then again, that may be the addiction talking.
Here is the questionnaire, as taken from Huffington Post:
Are you a smartphone junkie? Rate each item on a scale of 1 (“completely disagree”) to 7 (“strongly agree”) and tally up your total score to find out. Be honest!
1. I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
2. I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.
3. Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
4. I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so.
5. Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
6. If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
7. If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.
8. If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
9. If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it.
If I did not have my smartphone with me …
10. I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
11. I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.
12. I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.
13. I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends.
14. I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me.
15. I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken.
16. I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
17. I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks.
18. I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks.
19. I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages.
20. I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.
How You Score:
20: Not at all nomophobic. You have a very healthy relationship with your device and have no problem being separated from it.
21-60: Mild nomophobia. You get a little antsy when you forget your phone at home for a day or get stuck somewhere without WiFi, but the anxiety isn’t too overwhelming.
61-100: Moderate nomophobia. You’re pretty attached to your device. You often check for updates while you’re walking down the street or talking to a friend, and you often feel anxious when you’re disconnected. Time for a digital detox?
101-120: Severe nomophobia. You can barely go for 60 seconds without checking your phone. It’s the first thing you check in the morning and the last at night, and dominates most of your activities in-between. It might be time for a serious intervention.