If you feel like you just can’t pry the smartphone away from your teenager’s hands, there’s actually a term for what they’re feeling.
That’s “no mobile phone phobia,” or the fear of not being able to use a smartphone.
Researchers at Iowa State University came up with a scientific way to measure one’s addiction. It’s a 20-question survey that focuses on not being able to communicate, losing “connectedness,” not being able to access information, and giving up the convenience that smartphones provide.
Participants are supposed to answer each question on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree).
- “Running out of battery life would scare me.”
- “If I did not have my smartphone with me, I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.”
- “I would feel anxious because I could not keep in touch with family and/or friends.”
The total scores breakdown as follows, according to Iowa State researchers:
0 to 20 = no nomophobia.
21-60 = mild case of nomophobia.
61-100 = moderate nomophobia.
100+ = severe nomophobia.
In a small case study group of 10 teenagers, half who took the quiz scored in the “severe nomophobia” range. The result mirrors national research, which shows 50 percent of American teens say they’re addicted to their smartphones.
Natalie Lyman, 17, answered with “7’s” nearly across the board.
“I got 130, that’s so bad,” Lyman said. “I have nomophobia.”
Ileena Chavez, also 17, scored 125.
“Wow, I’m shocked,” Chavez said.
Brian Rudder, 17, reacted with a “whoa” to his 124 score.
“I’m addicted,” Rudder said. “I’m not going to lie.”
A University of Missouri study found that mobile phone separation can have serious psychological effects, including anxiety, feelings of unpleasantness and even impaired thinking.
But that isn’t stopping teens from letting go of their phones.
“I got to have it,” said 18-year-old Sheila Chuks. “It’s just part of me, it’s me.”
“And if I don’t have my phone...it (the world) could end,” said Natalie Lyman.
Jennifer Silba, 17, agreed.
“Life would be over,” Silba said. “It would be over.”