Sydney, Australia – Increased heart and blood pressure, shortness of breath, nausea, trembling, dizziness. The symptoms could be describing conditions such as vertigo or arrhythmia. Nonetheless, they are actually physical manifestations of Nomophobia, the panic and stress many people experience when unable to find or access their smartphone.
Currently, there are more smartphones than people in Australia. According to the Digital 2020 report, the 25+ million population uses roughly 33 million mobile phones and spend one in three minutes online on their device.
A recent study revealed that 9 in 10 Aussies are addicted to their phones – with almost half of the population using their device for upwards of three hours a day. Furthermore, 13% of the population presents severe levels of nomophobia. The findings were identified by the Australia-first study on the phobia and its consequences, conducted by Monash University, which was released last month.
Research also identified that users’ inability to disconnect could be endangering their health. The use of their device in prohibited spaces was 10.3 times higher among nomophobes, who were also 14 times more prone to engage in dangerous use – such as while driving, cycling or walking.
A consequence of behaviour is distracted driving, which in Australia, is a contributing factor in 22% of car accidents and a staggering 71% of truck accidents. The 2020 Budget Direct’s survey revealed that Australians are less confident using a phone while driving than they were two years ago. A slight fall registered nationwide, powered by young drivers from 18 to 24 years old, which presented an average decline of 64%.
Turn it off – already, Even though awareness around dangers of overusing smartphones have been in the public eye, there is always more to be done. Opposing and fighting back the smartphone epidemic, ‘Turn it off – already’ is the tagline of the 10th edition of MoodOff Day. The initiative advocates a more conscious use of technology, encouraging users to spend just 5 hours away from their devices on 28th of February.
“We are calling on all to think, connect first and then jump onto our devices”, says Tapas Senapati, founder of MoodOff Day. “We want to encourage people-connection before technology, stepping back from an overwhelming techno-abusive year, emerging from lockdowns and social distancing”, he says.
You can pledge your participation, dare your family, friends or colleagues to partake and see if you can go for hours without your phone, tablet, computer or gadget – or not. Visit www.moodoffday.org to learn more about technology habits, ways to balance people vs devices and to support the outreach the MoodOff Day charity undertakes throughout the year.