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Nomophobia. It is an issue that is rapidly developing as Singapore continues to grow into an international tech hub. According to a survey done in 2014, 52% of Singaporeans have admitted to suffering from this “disease” which renders them incapable of surviving up to 12 hours without internet (Ann, 2014, October 3). Thus, it is critical to ensure that such concerns can be combated. People such as our parents, the school and our own selves are key factors in fighting in the war against nomophobia.
Dr Nisha Chandwani has advised several methods that can be used to battle this addiction.
Avoiding checking one’s phones when they wake up is one of these methods. Doing so gets them into the habit of not prioritizing their phones. Apart from mornings, it is also applicable to mealtimes especially when its with friends or family members. It is recommended to abstain from using mobile devices and to partake in conversations instead. Not only does this strengthen relationships but it also familiarizes one with the feeling of being without their phones.
Another method is to ensure that time spent on and off devices are balanced. This means that every hour spent on the phone equates to an hour off the phone. Consequently, this will see to it that a healthy level of smartphone usage is maintained.
Establishing rules and boundaries is a great way for parents to start when helping their children with their mobile phone addiction. Rules such as having to finish assignments and only then would they be allowed to use their electronic devices.
Time limit can also be implemented thus controlling their smartphone usage. Sometimes, these methods can be futile. As such, the next step would be to send the teen or young adult for counselling.
Nomophobia is not just exclusive to Singapore. Measures are being taken internationally too. For example, San Lorenzo High School in California adopted Yondr which is a pouch that locks phones in with a magnetic seal. This refrains users from utilizing it without actually having to take it away. As a result, “It has absolutely changed our entire school climate and culture,” San Lorenzo High School Principal Allison Silvestri said. “Students talk to me in the halls now. They have to talk to each other. A substitute teacher noticed better posture because they’re not looking down at their phones in the hallways on the way to class.”
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