The biggest phobia in the world? ‘Nomophobia’ – the fear of being without your mobile – affects 66 per cent of us
We check our phones 34 times a day and often take it to the loo with us
2008 survey saw 53 per cent of us admit to the phobia
Fears include losing reception, running out of battery, and losing sight of your phone
By Eddie Wrenn
PUBLISHED: 04:06 EST, 8 May 2012 | UPDATED: 04:25 EST, 8 May 2012
Maybe it is wrong to call this a phobia.
For a phobia is generally an ‘irrational fear’, and that pang of anxiety when you are without your mobile in this brave new connected world is perhaps an understandable feeling.
But either way, for 66 per cent of us, being with your phone at all times is an obsession that occupies every waking minute.
If you think you may suffer from nomophobia – or ‘no mobile phone phobia’ – then the warning signs are:
An inability to ever turn your phone off
Obsessively checking for missed calls, emails and texts
Constantly topping up your battery life
Being unable to pop to the bathroom without taking your phone in with you.
The number of people afflicted with nomophobia was revealed in a study by SecurEnvoy, and shows a rise from a similar study four years ago, where 53 per cent of people admitted the fear of losing their phone.
In the latest study, of the 1,000 people surveyed in the UK, 66 percent said they felt the fear.
Young adults – aged between 18 and 24 – tended to be the most addicted to their mobile phones, with 77 per cent unable to stay apart for more than a few minutes, and those aged 25 to 34 followed at 68 per cent.
That number is up from a similar study four years ago, where 53 percent of people admitted to the phobia.
The study showed that people on average check their phone 34 times a day, and 75 per cent of us use the phone in the bathroom – with many people saying it is the modern equivalent of the newspaper.
Andy Kemshall, co-founder of SecurEnvoy, said: ‘The first study into nomophobia, conducted four years ago, revealed that 53 per cent of people suffered from the condition and our study reveals this has now risen to 66 per cent in the UK and shows no sign of abating.
‘A reversal on the 2008 findings is that, back then, it was men that were more afflicted yet today it’s women.
‘I’d be inclined to draw the conclusion that, perhaps because more men have two phones, they’re less likely to misplace both and therefore be left phone-less.’
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Other findings showed that, even if 49 per cent of us get upset if their messages and texts were viewed by a partner, most of us don’t bother with securing our phones, with only 46 per cent using some kind of lock code, and just 10 per cent adding encryption to their data.
Mr Kemshall added: ‘With 58 per cent of the respondents using at least one device for business use, this lack of security is a worrying trend that needs addressing.’