Cambridge Dictionary Declares ‘Nomophobia’ As People’s Word Of 2018 & It’s Troubling

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that a little movie called ‘2.0’ has released in theaters (you can read my review here). It deals with the negative effects of cellphones and through that process shows us how dependent we are on them.

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Now, you might find the plot to be ludicrous or the VFX to be the over-the-top. However, it turns out that S. Shankar and his team has made the most relevant Indian movie because Cambridge Dictionary has deemed our fear of losing our cellphone as the most trending topic of 2018.

According to News18, Cambridge Dictionary had asked its blog readers and social media followers to give their opinions about a shortlist of four words chosen by the dictionary’s editors. And the top choice turned out to be nomophobia. A blog post explained,

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“Like many modern coinages, nomophobia is what’s called a blend: a new word made up of syllables from two or more words, in this case ‘no mobile phone phobia.'”

Yes, the word of the year basically translates to theĀ “fear or worry at the idea of being without your mobile phone or unable to use it”. We’ve reached peak 2018.

And do you want to know what were the other contenders? There was “gender gap”, which is pretty self-explanatory. Then there was “ecocide”, which means destruction of the natural environment of an area, or very great damage to it. And finally there was “no-platforming, which is defined as “the practice of refusing someone an opportunity to make their ideas or beliefs known publicly, because you think these beliefs are dangerous or unacceptable.”

A 2014 article on Psychology Today traced back the origins of the word “nomophobia” to a 2010 study conducted by the UK Post Office. In that study, it was seen that nearly 53% of mobile phone users in Britain were anxious about losing their mobile phone, running of battery or having no network coverage.

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The study also showed that out of the 58% men and 47% women suffered from the phobia. Additionally, 9% of the target demographic felt stressed when their mobile phones were off. And they compared their nomophobia to be in line with those of wedding day jitters or trips to the dentist.

In the U.S., studies showed that about two out of three people slept with or next to their smartphones. One in five people reported that they’d go without shoes for a week than take a break from their phone. And all this amounted to about 66% adults suffering from nomophobia.

According to Wikipedia, nomophobia can be the result of using the device impulsively to avoid social communication. It can also lead to preferring communication through technological interfaces, rather than face-to-face interactions. But the real question is that is there a cure for this?

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Considering how it’s a comparatively new concept, there aren’t many official treatments. However, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, combined with pharmacological interventions might do the trick. And that basically means living away from your technological devices to reinforce autonomous behaviour. However, extreme cases involve the use of neuropsychopharmacology, which means taking doses of benzodiazepines or antidepressants.

So, all in all, if you feel like you’re using your smartphone a bit too much or can’t go 3 hours without it, it’s time to put it down and take a walk in the park. No, not the metaphorical one. A real one with real people and real trees in it. Or else Akshay Kumar is gonna come and take away your mobiles.