Washington : If your worry about whether you’ll lose your phone becomes a preoccupation or interferes with your daily life, you may have a psychological or pathological problem, a psychologist has warned.
A new study conducted by security-authentication company SecurEnvoy finds that fear of losing your phone is a common ailment.
About 66 percent of those surveyed suffer from nomophobia (or “no mobile phone phobia”) and interestingly, more women worry about losing their phone than men.
SecurEnvoy makes software to protect your phone should you lose it, using two-factor authentication.
The rising prevalence of “nomophobia” — and contemporary cellphone obsession — has also been confirmed by other studies.
Last year, a study in the journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing found that respondents checked their phone about 34 times per day on average. Those surveyed would check their phone about once every ten minutes.
Lookout Mobile Security also did a study late last year and found that 50 percent of respondents feel anxious when they do not have their phone present. When asked which item they would retrieve from a burning house, the top pick was a mobile phone — ahead of a wallet, purse or a passport.
“Our phone is like our lifeline — it contains all of our most sensitive information, so naturally there’s a lot of fear we have about losing it,” Discovery News quoted Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of Lookout Mobile Security, as saying.
Those who suffer from this phobia shouldn’t worry, as there is help.
Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist and professor at California State University in Los Angeles, told FoxNews.com the first step is to figure out if you have nomophobia.
Obsessively checking your phone is one thing, but the true sign of a problem is when the fear becomes so intense you can’t conduct business or go about your routine.
Do you go to unusual lengths to makes sure you have your phone? Durvasula says that’s another sign of a problem.
For example, you might use multiple apps for finding your phone and insure the device against theft. Or exhibit other obsessive behaviours and become irritated or even irrational if you think you’ve lost your phone or left it at home by accident. If you find you check your phone numerous times per hour, or a total of an hour per day, there may be a problem.
“[Nomophobia] may result in missing important information, such as new social contacts, so the person becomes anxious. It becomes a psychological problem or pathologic when the fear becomes a preoccupation or interferes with functioning in some way,” Durvasula told FoxNews.com.
Some of the treatments she recommends are similar to those for treating obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety attacks: leaving the phone behind and not checking e-mail or text messages, and then learning to tolerate the subsequent anxiety. Even if this leads to a high level of worry and stress, she says, the solution is to push through the fear and learn to cope with not having your phone.
Of course, there are also technological options. Luis Levy, a co-founder at Novy PR, says he uses an app called Cerberus that can automatically track the location of his phone. To find it, he can just go to a Web site, login, and see the device’s location. He also insures his phone through a service called Asurion.
Apps like those from Lookout and through wireless carriers such as Verizon and T-Mobile can sound an alarm when a phone is lost. And, new products like the Zomm and BiKN warn you about theft.