Mums and dads, you’ve all probably heard about the various dangers of kids using mobile phones. But chances are, you probably haven’t heard about nomophobia, or a fear of being without your phone. But what is nomophobia exactly? And is it something that mums and dads should be worried about?
What is nomophobia?
You might be asking yourself, “What is nomophobia”?
In a nutshell, nomophobia (no mobile phone phobia), is the fear of not having a mobile phone or being unable to live without a mobile.
It might sound silly for some, but a lot of people actually find it really hard to function in their day-to-day lives if they don’t have a phone.
In fact, more and more kids and teenagers are becoming very dependent on their phones, to the point that some of them don’t even engage each other in face-to-face conversation, and instead opt to talk online or using their phones.
What effects does nomophobia have?
Not surprisingly, being too dependent on mobile phones can have a negative effect on a person’s brain.
According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, they found that people who had severe nomophobia and were very addicted or obsessed with their mobile phone were more likely to experience depression, anxiety, insomnia, and impulsivity.
Another side-effect of being too dependent on mobile phones? It can cause result in “poorer attention and control” which can make it difficult to concentrate on tasks.
What’s even more alarming is that these effects can also happen to young kids and teenagers who have a mobile phone. That’s why it’s very important for mums and dads to be able to limit their children’s dependency on mobile phones.
What can mums and dads do to prevent nomophobia?
It’s important for mums and dads to encourage responsible mobile phone use in kids.
It can’t be denied that mobile phones these days are a part of our daily lives, and even mums and dads depend on their mobile phones to help make their lives easier. But, being too dependent on mobile phones can also be a bad thing.
This is why responsible mobile phone use is very important especially for kids so that their mobile phones are used as a tool that they can control, and not the other way around.
Here are some useful tips:
- Encourage your family to engage in phone-free time. Make sure your family spends some time having face-to-face conversations with each other, or simply engaging in other activities that don’t involve a cell phone such as reading books.
- Teach your kids to value face-to-face interaction rather than sending a text message or a message on social media. This encourages them to try and talk to people in person and engage in actual human conversation rather than talk through their phones.
- Set aside at least one day a week wherein your entire family ‘disconnects’. This means you avoid using your cell phones or accessing the internet for one day. This helps you and your family appreciate the world beyond your phones.
- Don’t let your kids sleep with their phones. It’s best if your kids place their phones outside their rooms during bedtime. That way, they won’t get distracted and it also makes them fall asleep easier.
- Set a good example. Sometimes, kids get addicted to their phones because their parents are also addicted to using their phones. It’s important for mums and dads to set a good example for their kids in this regard.
Source: Psychology Today
READ: 5 Mistakes to avoid when giving your child their first mobile phone