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.
- Fear of Losing Cellphone Affects Millions (great infographic on cell phone use)
- Digital Brains: Offloading Memory to Our Devices
- A Sabbath Manifesto and the National Unplug Day
- Do Cell Phones Change What it Means to be Human?