Most Americans check their phones at least once an hour. But for some of us, digital devices are more than tools used to habitually text and tweet; they’ve become part of our identity, and going somewhere without one can stir up feelings of anxiety. This condition — the fear of being without your mobile phone — is called nomophobia.
You’ve probably experienced some level of emotion when you accidentally leave your phone at home (like the digital version of FOMO), but this is severe for nomaphobes. “IPhones are capable of becoming an extension of our selves such that when separated, we experience a lessening of ‘self’ and a negative physiological state,” explained Russell Clayton, a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri, who studied how smartphone separation can link to anxiety.
To measure iPhone codependence, Clayton interviewed nine students about their smartphone experiences, then developed a questionnaire based on these responses that he tested on 301 others. Through his research, he classified four qualities of nomophobia: the fear of losing connectedness, not being able to communicate, not being able to access information and giving up convenience.
We’ve reconfigured the researcher’s questions into the quiz below. Take it to identify the level of your dependency on your mobile device, then consider learning about how to take a digital detox. You deserve it.
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