Can’t leave home without it: Smartphone separation anxiety is growing problem, says scientist

“Smartphones are so central to our lives that being separated from them for any length of time can put people into a high state of anxiety – and the problem, it seems, is only going to get worse,” Tom Bawden reports for The Scotsman. “Researchers have been looking into the reasons for our ‘smartphone separation anxiety’ – known as nomophobia – and found that it has little to do with being unable to make or receive a call.”

“The main reason, they found, is to do with the key role our smartphones play in our overall identity by recording numerous memories that act as an extension of ourselves,” Bawden reports. “For many people, posting about their actions on social media has become a key part of their experience of an event and, in turn, the way they remember them, the study finds. And being without a smartphone means you can’t be posting about your current activities, researchers say.”

“‘As smartphones evoke more personal memories, users extend more of their identity onto them,’ said Dr Ki Joon Kim, of the City University of Hong Kong,” Bawden reports. “‘When users perceive smartphones as their extended selves, they are more likely to become attached to the devices, which, in turn, leads to nomophobia by heightening the phone proximity-seeking tendency,’ he added.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Seems like the problem lies with social media obsessives, not with iPhones and iPhone knockoffs.

BTW, you have to have never used an iPhone to have “smartphone separation anxiety” over some Samsung or other iPhone knockoff. The very idea of being nomophobic over some pretend iPhone from a South Korean dishwasher maker is ludicrous.


  1. A sad commentary on society. If (or when) the power grid goes down for any reason, there will be mass hysteria as these people desperately attempt to establish some connection. It’s alright…the world will continue on without pictures of your meal or random thoughts.:)

    1. The same thing would happen with homes, vehicles, and everything else Silicon Valley is trying to get us to network, and it wouldn’t require taking out the power grid – a regular old outage would do the trick.

  2. I know what they mean. I embark on an Alaskan cruise today from SanFran and Internet will be sparse. Roaming turned off as recommended (unless you like being gouged for access). Bought 240 minutes of time (that’s right – minutes instead of amount of data) for $99 but really to have a vacation in the moment you truly need to put the tech down and just enjoy yourself. If possible. I’ll try. 🚢 😎 🥂

  3. The “nomo-” part means “no mobile”.

    Occasionally I experience bouts of amnesio-motor-nomophobia when I can’t remember whether I left my iPhone in my car.

  4. I think for Apple’s home country that it goes a bit further back, their love of the gun to the point that it is a fetish.

    According to the Congressional Research Service, there are roughly twice as many guns per capita in the United States as there were in 1968: more than 300 million guns in all.

    For 2017, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 224.3 million.

  5. Hmm, I think I’m safe – my phone stays at home 1/2 the time when I go out, mainly cos I’m usually doing something where I don’t want to be disturbed. If anything’s urgent they can do what they did 20 years ago… wait.

  6. The hassle of losing the phone is more troublesome than delaying the text messages or answering phone calls. Therefore, I usually leaving it at home half of the time as well.
    Unless, Apple comes up with new devices that not easy to lose.
    I don’t know what that is, hopefully Apple will innovate something new in the near future.

  7. Folks, it would appear the author(s) interpreted the data incorrectly. The ‘stress’ they claim is rooted in access to social media, not the smartphone. So the “enemy” here is not the iPhone or even Android knockoffs — it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Those of us who know better than to become involved, are safe from the “stress” claimed by the article.

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