Science-Technology, Life

Danger of Nomophobia is growing, says expert

'Turning off notifications to slightly reduce our curiosity for posts posted on social media', says social media expert

Burak Bir   | 13.10.2019
Danger of Nomophobia is growing, says expert


Children are spending an exorbitant amount of time glued to their electronics, increasing the danger of nomophobia.

A study found that 66% of people in the Europe have nomophobia, that people cannot escape phones, said an expert.

A 2019 survey published by a Mediacompany found that European teenagers (ages 13-18) averaged six and a half hours of screen time per day on social media and other activities such as video games.

A 2019 research center report found that 24% of 13-to-17-year-olds reported being online "almost constantly" and 73% had a smartphone or access to one.

The technology addiction survey was conducted with thousands of students and their families and the referral and follow-up of people with addiction was carried out.

More teens are also starting to get addicted to their phones and other devices. So far, there is a term -"nomophobia" - to describe people who can't escape the phone. One study found that 66% of people in the Europe have some form of nomophobia. 

With all this overuse of the telephone, a group of neuroscientists wanted to find out if exposure is hurting neurological health, especially in children and adolescents whose brains are still developing.

The research team at the University of Korea in Seoul, South Korea recently published a study that found that being addicted to smartphones creates a chemical brain imbalance linked to depression and anxiety in young people.  

Turn off notifications from social media apps

In Turkey, a project office has been established in 2017 in Pamukkale district of Denizli province, under the direction of Governor Hayrettin Balcioglu and coordinator of educator Sinan Demircan, carry out projects of conscious and safe use of technology.

Photo Credit: District Governorship of Pamukkale

Every year, on March 13, World Nomophobia Day is celebrated. Nomophobia studies on the use of social media and harmful content, which address all segments of the society, are continuing every year in order to make cybersecurity and academic social cultural activities efficient.

Photo Credit: District Governorship of Pamukkale

"The researchers assessed the severity of addiction in adolescents by analyzing their productivity, feelings, social life, and daily routines. They found that teens addicted to their phones had higher rates of anxiety, depression, impulse control problems, and sleep disorders than other teens the same age,” Deniz Unay, social media expert told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

“The researchers used a technology called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to track the movement of biochemicals in teenagers' brains. They analyzed a chemical called , which is involved in motor control and vision, and regulates brain function. Excessive GABA can lead to anxiety.” Unay said.

He went on to say that they also observed levels of glutamate-glutamine (Glx), a neurotransmitter that causes arousal in brain nerve cells. The amount of these chemicals we have in our brains affects our emotions and cognitive ability. Thus, addiction, anxiety and depression can result when these chemicals are unbalanced.

Photo Credit: District Governorship of Pamukkale

"The amount of these two chemicals in the study participants clearly showed that the brain was altered due to smart phone addiction. They saw how GABA decreased brain function, resulting in less attention and control. So when people are so connected to the phone, they are basically destroying their ability to concentrate. In addition, they observed how addicted adolescents had significantly higher levels of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and impulsivity," he added.

Describing the result of the study as "worrying", he said that there is a connection between extensive telephone use and negative brain changes and regardless of the age of children, people can start thinking about how to stop addiction to phones and other electronic devices before they become too attached or even addicted.

“Learn more about technology addiction and see if your kids are having problems. Consider taking this test online. Seek professional help so they can undergo cognitive behavioral therapy. Show attention to help break your kid's technology habit. Apply technology usage rules, such as storing gadgets during dinner and homework, and while driving. Turn off notifications from social media apps like Facebook and Twitter on your phone. Turning off notifications will slightly reduce our curiosity for posts posted on social media,” he suggested.

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