Los Angeles: Nomophobia was revealed by Cambridge Dictionary as “the people’s word of 2018”. The dictionary defines the word as “a fear or worry at the idea of being without your mobile phones or unable to use it”, a phenomenon which all of us can relate to even though we might not have heard the word before.

The word Nomophobia was selected from the list of three other words, put out by Cambridge dictionary calling for people’s vote on social media. It must be noted that Nomophobic is not a scientific term, however, over the years, has gained popularity among researchers due to technological advancement.

“Nomophobia” is also sometimes called smartphone separation anxiety, the feelings of discomfort or anxiety caused by the unavailability of a mobile device that allows virtual communication.

A study had earlier warned that smartphone addiction, and anxiety caused by being separated from the devices, is getting worse as people are increasingly seeing their devices as an extension of themselves.

Smartphones have become an integral part of living, penetrating deep into everyday life as “an irresistible intruder in time or place” and enabling “the extension of ear and voice” for interacting with the world, researchers said.

Previous studies have found that separation from smartphones causes increases in heart rate, anxiety, blood pressure, and unpleasant feelings.

“As smartphones evoke more personal memories, users extend more of their identity onto their smartphones,” researchers said.

“When users perceive smartphones as their extended selves, they are more likely to become attached to the devices, which, in turn, leads to nomophobia by heightening the phone proximity-seeking tendency,” they added.

Dependency on smartphones is likely to continue to increase, as the advancement of technology continues to make smartphones increasingly appealing and indispensable by adding various convenient and powerful features that facilitate ubiquitous communication, researchers said.