Something new to fear: Cell phone separation anxiety

Your phone is missing. You start to panic. You may be one of many people suffering from nomophobia, according to a new survey.

Survey results
You can pry my smartphone from my cold, dead hands. Lookout

Though it may sound like it, nomophobia isn't the fear of being without Cute Overload. It's the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

A survey of 2,000 Americans commissioned by Lookout, a mobile security app maker, delves into the mindset of smartphone owners and shows just how obsessed we are with our phones.

The bathroom habits of mobile owners have already been revealed in all their icky glory, but Lookout's Mobile Mindset study has uncovered some interesting trends when it comes to staying connected during meals, while lying in bed, and even during services at houses of worship.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents don't go an hour without checking their phones and 54 percent even check their phones while lying in bed. Going to church reduced that by quite a bit, but 9 percent still confessed to checking their phones during worship services. Nearly a third gaze at their screens during meals.

I've called my own mobile phone more than once using Skype when I've lost it in the house, but I've never panicked about it. I'm in the minority. The survey found 73 percent of people feel panic when they misplace their phones and 7 percent feel sick. A tiny slice of 6 percent suffer from no nomophobia whatsoever and actually feel relief.

These results aren't too surprising based on my own casual observations of watching people at restaurants text and email rather than talk. It just confirms that we're heading down a path of greater emotional dependence on our portable tech devices. Maybe it's time for some couples counseling for people and their smartphones.

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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