Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I am a little Nomophobic

Photo from Chris Jordan Worth having a look at his stuff.

Last week I dropped my whiz bang company mobile phone into a small rock pool taking the dog for a walk at the beach at Brighton. Yes I know, we have all the UK town names here in South Australia. Other than the immediate disappointment at my bad luck when the phone decided to glow for a few minutes and then turn off, life went on for the rest of the evening.

I reverted to my older Nokia phone, which while not quite so fancy is simple and reliable and you can actually make and receive calls to people. Amazing concept for a mobile phone No extraneous stuff like cameras, MP3 players, blue tooth and the like, but we all have our hardships. It made me realise how much I would miss having a mobile phone and how grateful I was that I could just charge up the battery and swap the sim card and carry on..

While the always available world that we live in today is almost a requirement for work, it grates against my wish for privacy. Personally I am not much of a texter and most of my calls are actually to and from my wife, but it is nice to have a phone available all the time, given that I am the primary contact for the school. I often turn it off outside work hours and rarely answer in the evening.

I have lived in two countries with huge mobile phone addictions, Singapore and Australia and have certainly travelled to others (Have you seen a Philippino text?).
I can remember first coming to Australia in the late 1990s and noticing how prevelent they were. While I was in Singapore in the mid 1990s, the transition from the pager to the mobile phone was really taking off. I remember noticing pagers, with their distinctive sounds a lot when I first went there and hardly noticing them when I left in 2001. Mobile phones were everywhere, reasonably cheap and quite the novelty during that period. People used them all the time, with the Singapore specialty being talking loudly and taking calls in the middle of cinemas. Exasperating. Not as annoying as the infuriating ring tones that invade our lives today however.

Here in Australia, Telstra are moving everyone in country areas from the CDMA network onto Next G (whatever that means)and there is a great deal of cynicism about coverage in rural areas. There has been a wholesale change over in handsets for many people and real issues with whether the new technology will work outside the major centres. A hundred miles from nowhere is a good place to have a phone and coverage. As part of this plan many of the rural telephone boxes, icons of Australian rural life are being removed. Good luck if you need to make a call, regardless of the cost. Similar issues with the internet, where coverage is crap and expensive once you get out of the cities. The Rudd Government plan to fix both issues. Good luck.

This on the other hand is madness and indication of a life a little out of control, where your schedule and those of your friends is completely dictated by access to a mobile phone. OK I showed my age there.

A recent study has discovered that we are so dependent on our phones that when we find ourselves without them, discover that the battery has run out or are forced to switch them off, 53 per cent of us experience acute anxiety and stress - a “condition” so prevalent that it has even been given a name, nomophobia.

I am pretty sure I could do it, but it would be quite an adjustment. I am happy to carry on with my backup, but I would be stuck if that one gets run over by a bus.

Thanks Blognor Regis


Ruthie said...

Nomophobia! I didn't know there was a name for it...

I don't know WHAT I would do without my mobile phone... I use it for everything-- driving directions from mapquest, google, texting, email, and phone calls, of course...

I wonder what the next generation will be reliant on.

Colin Campbell said...

Hard to imagine. When I was your age, mobile phones hadn't even been invented.

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