Study Say Today’s Moms Are “Nomophobic”

October 9, 2013
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So I know most moms sleep with their phones next to their beds and it’s the last thing they look at before they go to bed and the first thing they look at in the morning. A friend told me to shut mine off before going to bed the other night, but I told her I never do in case my kids have an emergency in the middle of the night. My daughter used to hide my smartphone from me so I’d pay attention to her. Yes, I’m guilty as charged of being “nomophobic.”

A new study by BabyCenter says we are afraid of being without our smartphones or “nomophobic.” I think you also need to add in a bit of “fomo” or fear of missing out.

In reality, smartphones are our remote controls for life. They help us juggle being a working parent and a mother. Smartphones give us sanity whether it’s apps that help us keep track of things or music that calms our nerves and keeps us pumping along life’s journey. They help us have information at our fingertips. Games help us de-stress. Our phones help us keep from getting lost. They are mother’s helpers, keeping kids occupied if we are willing to let the little ones pry them from our fingers. And for the social media connected mom, the smartphone keeps us in touch with news, friends and make informed purchase decisions. Of course, we take tons of photos and children today are probably the most photographed generation ever.

But am I nomophobic? Maybe. I know I would give up TV before I’d give up my phone. And I’m obsessive about where I keep it so I always know where it is. At least most of the time.

But Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and contributor says, “Smartphones can be an important coping mechanism, as moms, especially new moms, may find difficulty adjusting to their new lives. However, the extreme dependence on smartphones and mobile devices can become a complex syndrome, with characteristics similar to obsessive-compulsive disorders.”

Wow. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. So I went to the International OCD Foundation to check and it said:

• Thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel out of the person’s control.

• The person does not want to have these ideas.

• He or she finds them disturbing and unwanted, and usually know that they don’t make sense.

• They come with uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, disgust, doubt or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is “just right.”

• They take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values.

Well, I’m not a doctor, but I for one, can only agree that the last bullet may be an indication of OCD when it comes to my smartphone. And I’m positive most mothers would agree with me. We’re not singularly using our phones for everything we need.

The BabyCenter report revealed:

• Social Media: Nearly 70% of moms access social networks on her smartphone, 17% prefer their tablet and 14% prefer laptops.

• Email: 58% of moms use their smartphone to read email, but 57% prefer the larger keyboard on their laptop for writing and responding to messages.

• Entertainment: Half of moms use their tablet for watching TV and video, compared to only 31% who are most likely to use their laptop and 19% who are most likely to use their smartphone.

• Information: Moms are divided on which device they prefer, but smartphones are at the leading edge – 42% of moms say smartphones are their device of choice for information, followed by laptops (31%) and tablets (27%).

One thing for sure is moms love their smartphones. Call us nomophobic, fomo-aniacs or whatever; we need these tools to manage our busy lives. Could I spend a weekend without mine? I might just try it as an experiment and see what happens.


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