Sonya Fladun: Nowhere to ‘nomophobia’

“I can actually use the touch screen keypad without trouble and I don’t have to squint to read text,” says SONYA FLADUN

I’M not a tech person. Electronic devices have never been my forte and, for more than a decade, a total lack of commitment to my mobile phone has been a bone of contention among my friends.

Sonya Fladun

Sonya Fladun

Time and time again, they would call but there would be no answer. My phone would ring out, or it wouldn’t be switched on, or the battery was flat.

My friends would text, but I’d reply days or weeks later when I finally switched my phone on or managed to get the thing working.

I’ve never really got into texting. I hate trying to type on tiny keyboards. I don’t like surfing the net with a small screen because I can never see things properly.

It’s a great idea to have a built-in camera. But I never could manage to get the camera part of the phone working in time to take a good photo. On the rare occasion that I did get a decent picture, I seemed always to lose or accidentally delete it.

I would try to keep my phone on and be available for calls, but each new model seemed to get smaller and smaller. Consequently, I could never find my phone, it always ended up buried at the bottom of my large and over-packed handbag.

Even if, by some miracle, the phone was charged and switched on, and I could hear the ring above the hubbub of family life, I’d never manage to find it before the call was long gone.

However, things have changed. I now have a new phone, or rather a “phablet” – half phone, half tablet. Mobile phone design has turned full circle. My new phone is big, nearly as big as the clunky mobiles of more than 20 years ago. But this is a good thing. It’s big enough that I can find it in my bag. I can actually use the touch screen keypad without trouble and I don’t have to squint to read text.

And to call it a phone doesn’t really do it justice. It has everything. I can surf the web, read email and work documents without any trouble. It has a calendar that organises me. I’ve finally got all my contacts listed in the memory. It stores and streams all my music at the touch of a button. When I text, it practically writes the text for me. Sometimes I just go with what the auto text suggests. If I don’t want to type, I can use voice activation. I can take and share pictures without any trouble. It’s got great time-wasting games to play. And, at long last, I’m actually contactable.

Yep, I love my new phone.

But with all this comes a new form of anxiety. I’m now totally dependent on it. I can’t live without it. I have a panic attack if I accidently leave it at home.

I’ve found there’s even a diagnostic term for this condition – nomophobia, short for “no-mobile-phone-phobia” or the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

As my 11-year-old and very tech-savvy son says: “Welcome to the 21st century, mum.”



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