- "Cuz, I think I've got severe nomophobia!!"
- "Ha, told you, freak"
Thus started the recent conversation between myself my cousin, Patrick. He had been insisting to me for years that nomophobia was a 'thing' and it existed, which usually got a derisory retort from me ("Phoney, modern crap" to be precise).
So what is nomophobia? Well, at it's simplest, it's the fear surrounding the loss or impairment of your mobile phone. Or, to give it's official definition:
Nomophobia [no-muh-foh-bee-uh] - noun An abnormal, irrational fear of being without ones mobile device, or of being unable to communicate using ones mobile device.
Sound like pseudo-psycho crap? Ha, same here until my recent revelatory moment. My 'Oh-moment' occurred a few weeks back in mid-July when I left behind my mobile phone - a well-scratched iPhone to be exact - while escaping from the verbal clutches of a particularly foul-mouthed, know-it-all Dublin taxi driver. In my haste, I arrived back at my front door, patted my pockets, felt the "Oh No" rising and then shouted it out loud when I remembered that my battery was at 1% the last time I'd looked.
That was a sunday night. What followed was over a week of amazing fun while I went about getting a replacement phone from my insurance company. It was 7 days of finding out in just how many things I've come to depend on my mobile phone. Indeed, it was only 12 hours into the odyssey, while waiting to meet a friend by the canal, that I had my Chief Brody - he of "We're gonna need a bigger boat" fame - revelation. Not only was I co-dependent but I was actually ridiculous anxious without it.
Which brought me to ring my cuz with the news. Highly qualified doctor? Clinical psychologist? Bereavement counsellor?? Fraid not. Plain old PR consultant who had come across the term nomophobia years before in media campaign.
- "Patrick, I'm nomophobic. I don't want to live in fear of my little phone. What do I do? Where do I go?"
- "Fraid there isn't anywhere to go, Conor."
- "But the world is full of nomophobics like me. I see them everywhere. My family, my friends. We have to do something. Before it's too late."
- "Mmm, you're right. We must educate the world about this condition. We must raise awareness."
- "We must, we must. But how? Phone burnings? Mob riots?"
- "Nooo ya freak. Mobile phones and tablets are great. Our lives are much better with them. We don't want to tell people to hate their phones or to get rid of them. No, we will show people how to live in peace with their mobiles. We will we show them how to love their phones."
- "How, prey tell, will we do that, cuz?"
- "Why, through the power of wise webby words, sage advice, interesting articles.... oh, and memes... lots and lots of memes."
- "Why cuz, that sounds like a website"
... and thus was nomophobia.com born.