No mobile phone phobia on the rise

We’ve all done it.

Minutes after leaving the house (remember those days?), panic sets in. We pat down our pockets, empty our bags, search every inch of the car.

Nomophobia—fear of being without a mobile phone—is a real problem, and is having serious consequences, at least in Australia.

A new study from Monash University published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that 99% of users have some fear of being without their phone. For 13% of the population, their level of nomophobia is severe and 43% of people in the study spend nearly three hours a day on their phone.

Researchers found that people with nomophobia were 14 more times likely than others to engage in dangerous behavior while on a phone, including driving, cycling or walking.

“If your smartphone use is having a deleterious impact on the physical and/or psychological health of yourself or those around you, then that is a problem. But I think the device, if used mindfully, can be a complement to the supercomputer we already carry around in our heads,” lead researcher Fareed Kaviani told Australia IT Brief.

People ages 18 to 25 suffered the most from nomophobia. That mirrors findings from a study published last April showing that 89% of a sample of U.S. college students had moderate or severe nomophobia.

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