A Hong Kong woman was caught crying uncontrollably after her phone apparently died on the subway.
Though it’s surprising to see this woman’s meltdown last as long as it does — she hits her phone several times, and stomps her feet in frustration — you shouldn’t laugh at her situation.
We don’t know what else is going on in this woman’s life, but if this woman is actually upset from her phone’s battery dying, you should understand that smartphone addiction is a very real, albeit new thing.
There’s an official name for smartphone addiction now: it’s called “nomophobia” (short for no-mobile-phone phobia), according to the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. Symptoms of nomophobia include “feelings of panic or desperation when separated from your smartphone, not being able to focus on conversations or work, and constantly checking phones for notifications.” And people can’t leave their phones behind: A new Gallup poll released last week suggests most US smartphone owners check their phones at least once per hour, with over 52% of respondents saying they check their phone several times every hour.
Nomophobia isn’t currently listed on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the book that’s widely considered to be the ultimate authority on mental health. But many psychologists believe nomophobia should be added to the list.
“Mobile devices can have a dangerous impact on human health,” Nicola Luigi Bragazzi and Giovanni Del Puente of the University of Genoa wrote in their DSM proposal. “Further research is needed, above all academic and scholarly studies, to investigate more in depth the psychological aspects of nomphobia and to provide a standardised and operational definition of it.”