My name is Davey Winder, and I am a phoneaphobic. At first glance it would appear that I am anything but alone if the results of a recent study into attitudes towards mobile phone usage are to be believed. But first impressions are often misleading and that's the case here, as unlike me it seems that the majority of people do not have a phobia of simply speaking on the phone (or more accurately having my train of thought interrupted by meaningless telephone conversations when an email will usually suffice) but rather the exact opposite. Nomophobia is the fear of losing mobile phone contact, and the survey by SecurEnvoy and OnePoll reveals that an astonishing 66 percent of UK respondents suffer from it. That's up from the first such survey conducted in 2008 when only 53 percent admitted to being nomophobic.

Of the people interviewed, some 41 percent actually have two or more mobile phones in order to ensure such a lack of connectivity never strikes. Women are more likely (70 percent) to be scared of cellphone loss than men (61 percent), while men (47 percent) are more likely to have two phone than women (36 percent). "I’d be inclined to draw the conclusion that, perhaps because more men have two phones, they’re less likely to misplace both and therefore be left phone-less" said Andy Kemshall SecurEnvoy CTO and co founder, adding "there is another study into mobile phone use that found people check their phones, on average, 34 times a day so it wouldn’t take long for you to realise if you’d misplaced your device".

Interestingly, the younger you are so the fear rises. The survey found that 18 to 24 year olds were most nomophobic (77 percent) followed by the 25 to 34 age range (68 percent) although the oldies bucked the trend a little with the over 55's claiming third spot.

Sticking with the numbers for a moment, 49 percent of people asked agreed that they would be upset if messages and texts were viewed by their partners. Not such an unusual thing, you may think, but 46 percent admitted they did not use any kind of security measure to protect those messages from prying eyes. At least 41 percent did at least make use of a four digit PIN code I guess, but from a security writer persepctive it saddened me to discover that only 10 percent encrypted their devices and a meagre 3 percent were paranoid enough to go the whole two-factor authentication hog. I know this all sounds a little lightweight and just a tad tabloid, but there is a serious aspect to me reporting all this: 58 percent of people asked used at least one of their mobile phones for business purposes. Which means that there is a lot of insecure business data floating around out there.

And that, frankly, should scare everyone...

zeroliken commented: Another interesting article, thanks for posting this Davey :) +0
About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

I didn't know that me and most of the people I know are nomophobic till I read this

My guess is that very few people of my age group have that disease because we grew up in an age long before cell phones and even Star Trek with their communicators. So it doesn't bother me at all to not have a cell phone implanted in my head and talking to someone all the time. I enjoy my peace and quiet.

Absolutely agreed AD!

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Second it (sorry, third it!) AD.

I hate phones. My mobile is only an excuse for my wife to bother me and to ask me to get 'stuff' on my way home from work. Ain't it grand? She insists I carry one 'just in case' - so I was really surprised when she refused to pay the monthly charge.

People who like mobiles? Slaves methinks.

Should I admit that I carry, erm, two iPhones at the moment? I bought an iPhone 4S before my iPhone 4 was out of contract (combination of tech journo habits and problems with the current network provider) and as I am still paying for the 4 I'm keeping it and using it until that runs out in 3 months. However, I'm with Three on the 4S (as opposed to Vodacrap) and get 'unlimited' data so use the 4S for data intensive stuff when away from home.

Or at least I would if it weren't for the fact that I also carry an iPad 2 around with me which is on a 15Gb a month of data plan and I tend to use that a lot as well.

I may have just hung myself with my own petard or something... :)

Yes, I get separation anxiety; but I don't check it on a regular basis. I let it collect up messages that I can look at (or ignore) all at once.

I like having a tool nearby that can give me answers from the web, scan bar codes, give me GPS directions, be a bubble level, etc, etc. It's there when and where I need it in ways that make me more efficient.

I like having a tool nearby that can give me answers from the web, scan bar codes, give me GPS directions, be a bubble level, etc, etc. It's there when and where I need it in ways that make me more efficient.

I do too, but that's much different than people who constantly have a cell phone nailed to an ear.

I do too, but that's much different than people who constantly have a cell phone nailed to an ear.

Exactly. It screens me from interruptions while allowing me to stay in touch.

I don't give my mobile number(s) to anyone other than close friends and family. I certainly don't let it get into the hands of my business associates or I wouldn't have any peace. For the last 20 years I have been telling clients and business contacts to email me, and for the whole that seems to work quite well. I do have a landline in the office, but even that number is only given out to existing clients only. Maybe I have lost work over the years, who can tell? But I don't care, my work/life balance is all the better for not having business calls interrupt me wherever I happen to be.

To an extent, it’s not that big of a surprise. Nowadays, we are attached to our phones while walking, while in the elevator and even in the bathroom, and losing it would be like losing a good friend you spend most of your time with.

Forgetting my wallet gives me the same kind of feeling as forgetting my phone. I can function just fine, but without money or a driver's license.

Losing either of them is very personal and disruptive.

Well, Phones do provide us with almost everything nowadays.

The large screen HD phones are just superb... How can you stay away from em? :p

>>How can you stay away from em? :

Easy -- I have lots of other things to do than waste time on cellphone. Some day people will evolve without voice boxes due to lack of use.

That may be a nice guester, but I wouldn't do it for the simple fact that (1) theft, and (2) one or more employees could use it for unscrupulous purposes. Why don't they just ask me to leave all my credit cards at the desk?

I carried a cell phone for the last 10 years I worked. I spent far too much time on 24x7 standby and having my workday repeatedly interrupted with non-emergencies. When I retired in 2008 I swore I would never own another. So far so good. I relish my time without interruptions. I frequently let my home phone go to the answering machine.

If you control it rather than let it control you, then you will enjoy the benefits more. Just because a phone rings, it doesn't mean you have got to answer it. Just because you receive a text, it doesn't mean you have got to reply to it, either immediately, or at all. Consider it more of a request than a subpoena ad testificandum.

I've got a very nice tune as my ringtone and I enjoy listening to it all of the way through. Sometimes a caller will play this tune for me a couple of times... I don't mind, I like the tune. Family and close friends are more important than a musical interlude, so I answer them.

It is wise to impose social etiquette on a phone call, because we are then crediting the caller with the knowledge and decency that they probably wouldn't want to interrupt us if they could see what we were doing, feeling, watching, or discussing.

One thing that is disturbing concerning the younger generations, is the grunt text language they use. A friend of mine receives job application forms, yes, job applications completed in 'text' grunt. Sad. :/

For me, if the whole world's mobile 'phone network(s) were nuked tonight, it would be
ten years too late!