Where is my Phone?

This week in Applied Social Psychology, we learned about social change and participatory research and how it can be applied to a social situation. Psychological researchers are using some of these methods to conduct research and furthermore study social situations. When thinking of a social situation that are affecting many Americans today, a combination of electronic devices and social media comes to mind.

As time goes on, the technology advances and people tend to adapt by learning how to use the newest electronic devices. One electronic device that has advanced beyond our imagination is the mobile phone. Mobile phones became increasingly popular in late 90s and early 2000s, and around 2007 Apple Inc released the Apple iPhone (Chowdhury, 2014). The mobile phone has made many people’s life easier; however, with everything good there are some cons as well.

When walking around campus, have you noticed that most students are looking down at their phones and navigating without even looking up? How about when you are in class? How often do you and your fellow students look at your phones to check for updates? This could be due to something that is known as FoMO–in other words, fear of missing out (Maeng, 2018). The mobile phone and furthermore social media can be both a positive and a negative; however, with more people experiencing FoMO there can be several downsides (Maeng, 2018). It was found that people with FoMO experience anxiety, which is a disorder that many Americans are experiencing. When anxiety is persistent, it can develop into what is known as anxiety disorder. It is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. It is an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America [ADAA], 2018). The FoMO is when people are constantly updating their phones to see peoples new posts, messages, and etc. and they do this because they are scared that they might miss out on something that might have happen. This also leads to another issue that people are experiencing which is known as nomophobia.

Nomophobia, also known as no-mobile-phone-phobia, is the feelings of anxiety or distress that a person can experience when they do not have their phone with them (Valdesolo, 2019). Nomophobia and FoMO can but does not necessarily need to occur together; however, they both can contribute to anxiety (Maeng, 2018). People are depending on phones more than ever and are not able to leave the house without their phones. With the rise of anxiety disorder with around 40 million people in the United States, we must revisit how nomophobia and FoMO are contributing to these numbers and how we might be able to improve our mental health and furthermore life (ADAA, 2018).

Excessive use of technology can lead to issues such as FoMO and/or nomophobia, furthermore anxiety disorder. This is why it is important to evaluate the use of technology, in this case phones, and come to a conclusion to working towards a healthier lifestyle of not looking at the phone at all times. As mentioned in a CNBC article, there are several methods to improve your day (D’Onfro, J., 2018). Some of the tips are keeping yourself on a schedule allowing yourself to check the phone every 15 minutes then move to every 30 minutes, every 45 minutes, or every hour. Another tip is to turn off notifications or as many as possible–notifications can distract you and in a sense encourage you to look at the phone every time it vibrates and makes a sound  (D’Onfro, J., 2018). With the rise of anxiety disorder and its great link to social media/phone usage, it is important to address this issue and the first step might start with you.



Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2018). Understanding the Facts of Anxiety Disorders and Depression in the First Step. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

Chowdhury, R. (2014). Evolution of Mobile Phones: 1995-2012. Retrieved from https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/evolution-of-mobile-phones/

D’Onfro, J. (2018). These simple steps will help you stop checking your phone so much. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/03/how-to-curb-you-smartphone-addiction-in-2018.html

Maeng, S. (2018). #The Struggles is Real: Fear of Missing out (FoMO) and nomophobia can, but do not always, occur together. Retrieved from. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327477166_TheStruggleIsReal_Fear_of_missing_out_FoMO_and_nomophobia_can_but_do_not_always_occur_together

Valdesolo, P. (2019).Scientists Study Nomophobia—Fear of Being without a Mobile Phone. Retrieved from. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-study-nomophobia-mdash-fear-of-being-without-a-mobile-phone/


  1. I found your post fascinating! I have always wondered if there was an actual disorder for people having a phone withdraw and now I know for sure. It is sad to see younger and younger generations becoming more involved in technology to the point where it is consuming too much of them as an individual. Most children don’t even want to play outside or go for walk because they want to stay inside and play video games or be on their phone. Family time or simply holding a conversation is difficult without the other person holding or using their phone. Personally I have witnessed a parent take away a teenagers phone and they acted like they almost developed symptoms of ADHD. According to Claire McCarthy, who is a Faculty Editor for Harvard Health Publishing did a study on teens who used cellphones for media use. These were the results. “Overall, frequent digital media use appeared to increase the risk of having symptoms of ADHD by about 10%. The risk was higher for boys than girls, and for teens who had depression or a previous history of getting into trouble”(McCarthy, C. 2018). This research is very interesting to me, knowing that an electronic device can have such a huge impact on people’s everyday lives.

    McCarthy, C. (2018, July 31). Can cell phone use cause ADHD? Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-cell-phone-use-cause-adhd-2018073114375

  2. I enjoyed your post as it incorporated a the majority of problem surrounding social media and technology in today’s modern society. Being a college -aged individual, it’s excessively obvious that “FoMO” and “nomophobia” are real. The terms may sound silly, but they’re visible in most people, even physically. It’s physically apparent at times when someone is experiencing anxiety in relation to social media or technology deprivation. Over time, this can lead to a full blown anxiety disorder developing around the issue. As you mentioned, this shows how important it is to find a balance between real life and technologically-based social media in order to lead a healthier lifestyle. I feel as though, in relation to PAR, it would take a societal effort to make a real change. Society as a whole would need to understand the put together a program suitable to tackle this ongoing, spreading problem. I feel as though society working together with researchers would be the most beneficial attack method to this modern issue, as the issue spreads throughout the entire community. Bringing together all opinions, experiences, and suggestions from the community would expand the data and add to its reliability, essentially enabling the design of a more effective method to counteract it. Whether or not it’s truly something that can be combatted is another issue entirely, as our society continues to grow more dependent on these devices and social media; however, if one were to try to halt the effects, a community-wide approach would be a great idea.

  3. Michaelyn Marie Morgan

    Hi! I enjoyed reading your post!
    Would it be correct for me to assume that you are not a huge advocate for technology…specifically cellphones? If I am assuming correctly, you would be the perfect person to initiate PAR regarding the negative personal affects of cellphones. If you used Burns, Cooke, & Schweidler’s (2011) outline of PAR, you would identify the issue, identify participants, collect data, analyze data, and report the data.
    Identify the issue: As you stated, you have noticed people completely engrossed in their cellphones on a regular basis. You could hypothesize that cellphones may be correlated to an increase of FoMO, nomophobia, and/or anxiety disorder.
    Identify participants: You would need to find other people that also think the overuse of cellphones cause the problems stated above.
    Collect data: You could create a questionnaire asking questions related to cellphone usage and feelings of FoMo, nomophobia, and/or anxiety disorder.
    Analyze the data: You would analyze the data from your questionnaire and try to find a correlation between increased cellphone usage and an increase of FoMO, nomophobia, and/or anxiety disorder.
    Report the data: With the results of your PAR, you would need to find a way to display your findings to your targeted audience. Maybe you could illustrate the statistics you find in a poster and post them around campus.

    Burns, Cooke, & Schweidler. (2011). A Short Guide to Community Based Participatory Action Research. Retrieved from https://hc-v6-static.s3.amazonaws.com/media/resources/tmp/cbpar.pdf

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