Mobo Vertigo

Recently I made my students for my Discipleship course survey ten people about how they would feel if they lost their cell phone. Some of the answers are not surprising at all, whereas others help put into words the general technological angst of our day.

First, the non-surprising answers: I expected anger because of how expensive cell phones have become, as well as fear and anxiety because of privacy issues. Also, it is worth mentioning how many people surveyed mentioned that they would hate losing their cell phones because it is also their primary timepiece.

Now for the surprising answers: the most worrisome response was a feeling of becoming lost or disoriented as a result of having lost their cellphone. We already have a term to describe the fear of losing your cellphone, nomophobia; however, the answers I received to this survey were so strong that I think we need another term to describe the feeling a person experiences after they have lost their cell phone. Perhaps mobo vertigo would help; I like this better than cellphone vertigo because it goes nicely with nomophobia.

The other surprise for me was how aware people actually are of the stress cellphone use causes them. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the survey; it demonstrates well the vertigo described above, but pay attention to the final phrase:

“I would feel lost, unattached from society. I rely on my phone for way too much it would almost be like a part of me was missing. I like being able to contact my family and friends whenever or look up a question that is bugging me. I would lose so many things which would be awful. But I would also feel free.”

Notice the ironic self-awareness in my paraphrase: “losing my cell phone would feel like amputating a limb, but it would be so freeing!” It was quite noticeable how many people seemed to believe there would be a positive outcome from losing their cell phone.

The following quote from the survey seems like the best way to wrap this up: “We know cell phones are not positive all the time, but we feel responsible to others so we don’t unplug.”

What about you, how would you feel if you lost your cellphone? Have you ever experienced mobo vertigo? Let us know in the comments.

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One response to “Mobo Vertigo

  • Jon and Amie Chalmers

    We were not heavy cell phone users at all in Canada. We sporadically kept one on a pre-pay time thing with Sasktel when we were doing heavy travelling. But, it was more of an emergency tool. In Africa, it has completely changed for us! Partly, this is because of cost. Cellphones are CHEAP here and keeping them up with airtime is so cheap. One can get a low end new cell phone for 10 bucks or so. Then calling to Canada we can do for around 4 cents a minute! In country and on the same network we can do for probably around 1 – 2 cents a minute! Cell-phones are prolific here almost everyone has one! Which I find so interesting people will load 20 cents on their phone and make 1 minute calls to friends or just text them. They also do something the calling “flashing” where they call but it immediately hangs up. Leaving their number on your phone and you are supposed to call them back because they have no time on their phone. Only the caller gets charged for making the call here not the receiving phone. It all works on a pre-pay system just loading them with scratch cards that are readily available anywhere!

    I WOULD be lost without my cellphone now!! It’s the way I organize transportation, prepare to meet with people, check up on friends back home via FB, check the news to see what is happening in our area, plus all the apps I can add via Android. Also, our cellphones have become a serious part of security for living here. We can keep tabs on the whereabouts of those in our family. We can also quickly hit our contacts and call someone in our organization if something is happening that we need help with.
    The other thing is that texting has become essential! It’s so easy to communicate with. I have also started texting a new Christian daily with motivational words, verses, etc. He is in the transportation business and is all over the city all day. He doesn’t have much time to interact with other Christian folk but wants to grow in the Lord. It’s become a great tool! We often text thoughts and prayer requests back and forth as he waits for another customer.

    The other amazing thing cell-phones do here is send money. There are outlets everywhere here that you can load up your phone with actual cash. It’s like getting a small bank account on your phone. You go to an outlet put money on your phone account then when you need to pay someone or help someone out you send the cash to their number. They go to one of these outlets that are literally in every hole in the wall you can imagine and pick up the actual cash! It’s an unbelievable system that has had a huge impact on the country here as people can work in the cities and send money back home to rural areas with ease and speed at really cheap rate. Ok…enough about cellphones…so yes the answer is I would be lost disorganized, and have anxiety about losing my cell phone.

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