Smartphone Addiction: 'Nomophobia' Rings True for Lawyers

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on March 16, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Attention attorneys: Are you a nomophobe? To find out, ponder this simple question: How long can you go without using your cell phone?

If just the thought of being without cell phone contact strikes fear in your core, you're probably among the untold masses -- including, probably, countless lawyers -- who suffer from nomophobia: the fear of having "no mobile phone," the website CNET reports.

The term was first used in the UK, where a 2008 survey found more than 50% of respondents worried about being without their cell phones. Now, it's more like 66%, a new UK survey shows. Sounds like an epidemic that is spreading.

The nomophobia survey, though not specific to lawyers, found differences in being-without-a-cell-phone fears among different demographic groups. Young adults 18 to 24 were the most nomophobic, followed by 25- to 34-year-olds and people 55 and older, the survey found.

Also, more women -- 70% -- say they are nomophobic, compared to 61% of men. However, nearly half of men own multiple cell phones, compared to just 36% of women, the study found.

Though nomophobia appears to be on the rise, there isn't a big call for a cure just yet. One counseling website suggests nomophobes may want to try exposure therapy, the Los Angeles Times reports: Start by imagining what it might be like to live without a cell phone, then wean yourself by spending more and more time away from your phone.

Of course this may not work so well for nomophobic attorneys with chatty, needy clients who like to rack up billable cell-phone hours. But perhaps even busy lawyers can set aside a few hours a week for uninterrupted, phone-free down time.

After all, there's always voicemail.

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