We use cellphones every day. But for a growing number of people, staying connected is an obsession. According to a study by Secure Envoy a company that deals in mobile phone technology, the fear of being apart from your cellphone is on the rise.
It's called Nomophobia, as in "No mobile phone phobia," and 66 percent of the people surveyed said they have it. That number is up from a similar study four years ago, where 53 percent of people admitted to a fear of losing their cellphones. Dr. Mitch Spero, director of child and family psychologists in Broward County, said it was common to see problems arise because of cellphone use.
"Cellphones are tools that should be used to enhance our lives," he warned, "not to destroy our interpersonal communication skills with those that we love."
The study by SecurEnvoy shows that people check their cellphones an average of 34 times a day. But for Karla Campos from Pembroke Pines, that's nothing.
Campos estimates that she checks her phone closer to 50 times a day, and she even sleeps with it.
"Before I go to sleep, I put it under my pillow," said Campos, who owns a web services company called Gig Logo.
No matter what, 'it goes with me'
Scott Miller-Farrugia from Coral Springs admitted to being one of those people.
"I bring it into the bathroom instead of the newspaper," he said.
Scott's wife Shellie is such a cellphone addict, her nickname is "Celly."
"No matter where I am, it goes with me," she said.
Campos takes "everywhere" to the extreme, bringing her cellphone into the shower, "just in case it rings and somebody needs me."
For the record, Campos said she placed the phone on a ledge where it stays dry.
She also uses her cellphone to communicate with her 10-year-old son. But not necessarily when they're apart.
"He doesn't talk to me, I see him and pass by and he just says 'Hi Mom,'" Campos explained, "but when I have real conversation with him, it's on the phone, through Facebook."
Campos argued that any form of communication is better than none at all, and said she believes the cellphone connects her family.
Spero disagreed. "What I recommend is to keep your cellphone there for emergencies, but when you're with someone make them the priority in your life," he said.
The study showed that the younger you are, the more likely you are to be afflicted with Nomophobia. Women are also more likely to have it than men.
Wondering if you have Nomophobia?
The warning signs include: Obsessively checking your phone, constantly worrying about losing it even when it's in a safe place, and never turning it off.