" ITREALMS: Beware! Nomophobia rampant in Nigeria


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Monday, July 02, 2012

Beware! Nomophobia rampant in Nigeria


LATEST research on Nomophobia explosion indicates that more mobile phone users are getting addicted to their phones and when separated could cause some fuss, which may not be entirely pleasant. So, beware!

Experts at the free and open source online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, defined Nomophobia as the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The term is drawn from an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia.”

DigitalSENSE News investigations revealed that ‘Nomophobia’ was coined during a study by the UK Post Office which commissioned YouGov, another UK-based research organisation to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users in 2008. Just as women worry more about losing their phones, than men, who usually carry two phones.

With the use of mobile phones globally, the figure of those affected by Nomophobia, especially in Nigeria with over 136, 038, 021 connected lines as at April 2012; may have risen to 66 per cent in population, and are likely to be affected by Nomophobia.

According to the latest study by the United Kingdom (UK)-based SecurEnvoy, an estimated 66 per cent of the population is at risk of suffering Nomophobia and equating that to the 101, 077, 658 active lines in Nigeria, could mean that an estimated 66, 711, 250 subscribers may be at risk of Nomophobia.

However, a Lagos-based spear parts dealer situated at the Westminister, along the popular Oshodi-Apapa Express way, Olodi-Apapa area of Lagos, Mr. Celestine Dom, is a typical modern-day Nigerian whose small scale business of selling new tyres of all sizes, revolves on his two mobile phones.

As said by Dom, his business now depends largely on the number of calls he receives per week, of which 85 per cent are business calls. For this reason alone, he would not dare to forget his two phones anywhere or even distancing himself for 10 minutes without checking if he had a missed call.

“I can’t stay without my phones for a whole day and which batteries are fully charged,” he said.

For him, there are two things that could lead to him feeling Nomophobic; if those mobile phones get missing or the batteries just went blank, saying, “Whenever the battery of any of the phones is down, I feel uncomfortable and make every effort to ensure its powered on in the shortest time.”

This, Dom says, is because during such a time, the mere thought that customers may be calling that particular line in trying to reach him, spurs him to ensure it’s powered on as soon as possible.

Dependence on his mobile phones for livelihood and sustaining of his small enterprise is not a joke as he openly berates co-dealers, that if their phones are not working, it means they are not working themselves.

Celestine Dom represents an average Nigerian, who now finds it pretty difficult to forget his mobile phones at home, not to mention distancing himself from the mobile device. Unknown to him, he is suffering from Nomophobia.

Though the case of nomophobia is yet to be clinically proclaimed in Nigeria, there is evident that more Nigerians may be in the league of those affected with this affliction originating from loss of contacts on basic phone availability.

Dr. Muideen Owolabi Bakare of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, New Haven, Enugu, Enugu State, told DigitalSENSE News exclusively, there are two categories of people who are usually involved in usage of a product or device.

One, he said, are those who are not bothered whether they are with their phones or not. That is, they are not addicted to their phones and rarely communicate with the phones. He stressed, this category, may include old and illiterate parents in the villages.

The other category, Dr. Bakare noted, of course, are those who are addicted, who feel devastated if they lose their phones.

He explained that their daily routine activities revolves around their phones and solves a lot of communication and transaction problems with their phones.
“They feel incapacitated without their phones and include the youths and some middle age individuals,” Dr. Bakare said, it is an area for further research.

Reacting, an ardent mobile phone user, Mr. Ben Uzor, told DigitalSENSE News that if he ever forgets his mobile phone on his way to work, even if he has reached the office, he would find a way of getting the phone as quick as possible.

“I feel incomplete without my mobile phone. I will go home and pick it up,” he declared.
Meanwhile the UK-based survey of 1,000 people in employment, conducted using OnePoll, revealed that two thirds of respondents fear losing or being without their mobile phone.

DigitalSENSE News notes that the study, sponsored by SecurEnvoy, also stated that global leader of Tokenless two-factor authentication, reveals 41per cent of people interviewed, in an effort to stay connected, have two phones or more.

Chief Technical Officer and co-founder, SecurEnvoy, Mr. Andy Kemshall observed that 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.”
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