I’ve dealt with A LOT of separation anxiety over my career. I have worked with both parents and their children to help them move through this upsetting stage, and I’ve pretty much seen it all, until now! That’s because I just learned about Nomophobia! Have you heard of this? Nomophobia is the fear of being separated from your cell phone! Nomophobia is short for No Mobile Phone Phobia. You can find all the symptoms online, but some of the symptoms are:
◼︎ elevated heart rate when the phone isn’t nearby
◼︎ agitation when there is a lack of reception
◼︎ constantly checking the battery life and plugging in to boost the charge
◼︎ inability to disconnect from phone, even taking it into the bathroom
◼︎ inability to engage in a conversation without repeatedly checking phone
◼︎ anxiousness when unable to check emails, texts, or notifications
◼︎ feeling phantom phone vibrations when you think your phone is going off and it’s not
In one article, I read that a recent study found that 77% of 18-24 year olds were unable to stay away from their phones for more than just a few minutes. 77%!! And just a few minutes! That’s some serious separation anxiety! But no worries, I also read that doctors are considering medication to treat this anxiety. 😳😮😟
As parents of young children, you have the opportunity to combat this issue right now before things get out of control.
1. Pay attention to your use of screen time. Set the example by modeling what you expect .
2. Don’t make it the forbidden fruit! Technology is in our lives. Fact! The thing is, it shouldn’t be the ONLY thing in our lives. Nurture other interests and habits that will be equally as desirable.
3. Keep TVs and other screens out of bedrooms. Create a family charging station in a central place, like the kitchen, so no one takes their phone to bed at night.
4. Require face time. Actual face-to-face (eye contact and everything) time. There is no better way to bond than to put the whole world on hold as you look straight into your child’s eyes and have a conversation. Make that a priority and both of your lives will change for the better.
5. Get outside on a regular basis. Don’t just send your kids outside. Go with them! Look up. Look out. Move your whole body. Breathe in the beauty of the outdoors. This will provide the perfect balance to looking down, looking at artificial light, remaining inactive, and only exercising your hands and fingers.
Full disclosure: As I learned about Nomophobia, I realized that I have some of the symptoms! Yikes! So I’m happily separating from my phone and going off to where I always find my better self… outside! CURIOUS: What do you think is the best age to give your child their first cell phone?