Traveling May Elicit Smart Phone Anxiety

Emerging research suggest that we are becoming dependent on our smart phones to keep us in touch with the web. The dependency may become problematic if the connection is severed while traveling — a situation which can result in anxiety.

The new research is published in the International Journal of Information and Communication Technology.

Hui-Jen Yang and Yun-Long Lay of the National Chin-Yi University of Technology, in Taichung, Taiwan, explain that as smart phone prevalence has grown, people have come to rely more and more on what these devices allow us to do when traveling.

That applies whether we are confirming hotel and travel arrangements, hiring a car, mapping our way around our destination, keep in touch with friends and colleagues back home, or sharing photos and videos via social media.

Investigators discovered young people and the better educated, or simply the more information literate, tend to have a greater “smart phone web-dependence”.

Moreover, this seems to translate into greater “smart phone web-dependence anxiety” when traveling and not having access to reliable and fast Internet access.

Researchers believe the findings are a modern-day example of the psychological concept called attachment anxiety.

Attachment theory proposes that a person or a group of people have the psychological tendency to gain safety by seeking closeness to another person.

They feel safe when the other person is present but anxious when the person is absent, for instance, children and parents alike become anxious when they lose sight of each other in a crowded place.

Researchers believe separation anxiety is just as real for people and their smart phones, although the problem is obviously a one-sided issue.

The team concludes that their study has implications for understanding the psychology of our interaction with information and communications technology. They also believe that expanding our knowledge of these emerging “relationships” is increasingly important as we advance in the new digital economy.

Source: Inderscience Publishers/EurekAlert