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Can You Live Without Your Digital Teddy Bear?

Sleeping by the light of digital technology

Digital Addiction

Can you imagine getting a ticket for texting while crossing the street? You will in Honolulu, HI!

It won’t matter whether it is a cellphone, a tablet or a video game under a new bill, Electronic Devices Pedestrian Safety Bill. Offenses carry a fine of $15 to $35 for the first offense and subsequent fines can go as high as $99 per offense. For those who can not seem to put down their device – EVER—it could get expensive.

From 2000 to 2011, over 11,000 people have been reported injured while trying to walk and chew gum, er, I mean walk and use their mobile devices. It is a serious problem.


But, it is a serious problem that is sometimes hard to understand. Take a vacation My wife and I took to the beautiful Carmel, California coast. We were seated at dinner beside an expansive window overlooking the breath-taking coast and Pacific Ocean. Truly romantic. While seated, we noticed a much younger couple, each on their smart phones. My wife and I talked about the view and the things we were hoping to do while in this wonderful area of the country. The young couple? On their phones the entire time we were seated and, no exaggeration, continued on their phones after being served their meal and while eating. Still, not a single word.

Sorry, but I just don’t get it.

Are you addicted to your phone?

No? Really?

  • Do you feel stressed out, cut off or incomplete without your mobile?
  • Do you look at your phone during meetings?
  • Do you often check your phone just “in case” you have received a new message?
  • Do you move your phone with you wherever you go? Do you check your phone at dinner?
  • Do you regularly look at your phone screen to check contacts, whether it has vibrated or rang or not?
  • Do you really believe that all your friends want to know where you are or what you are doing all the time?
  • Do you avoid interactions with humans and prefer to communicate using the new technologies
  • If your battery is low, do you send out distress emails wondering if anyone has a charger?
  • Be honest with yourself, is your smart phone nothing more than your digital blanket, your digital “teddy bear”?
  • Do you sleep near your phone – just in case a text, post or call comes through?
  • Do you reach for your phone right after waking up?

You might be “nomophobic”:

“The disorder termed nomophobia (a portmanteau for “no mobile phone” and phobia) or mobile phone addiction, is a result of the development of new technologies that enable virtual communication. Nomophobia is considered a disorder of the contemporary digital and virtual society and refers to discomfort, anxiety, nervousness or anguish caused by being out of contact with a mobile phone or computer. Generally speaking, it is the pathological fear of remaining out of touch with technology.”

The statistics are overwhelming for the majority of people suffering some form of device separation anxiety; so much that the Psychology Research and Behavior Manual suggests including “nomophobia “in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard classification of disorders used by mental health professionals. Some of the statistics:

  • 84% of people surveyed in a TIME Mobility Poll said they couldn’t go even one day without their mobile.
  • 30% of us have ‘heard’ non-existent ringing
  • 80 % of us have imagined our phone vibrating in our pocket
  • 77% of people report having anxiety and worries about being without their phone
  • 10% of people report they must be contactable 24/7
  • 79% of people report their phone is with them for all but two hours of the day

Determining if you are suffering with nomophobia seems to have some discernable guidelines and criteria.

What can you do if you have nomophobia:

  • Turn off your cell phone at least an hour before bed.
  • Stop sleeping with your phone.
  • Set certain only times you will check your phone and don’t do it otherwise unless it rings.
  • Establish phone-free zones. Your home, your car, restaurants, etc.
  • Never check your phone while you are engaging in real-life human contact.

Bottom line is treat humans like humans and let machines lay on the counter in the silence position.

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