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/