At Softrak’s recent Adagio Opportunity Conference, Ward Blatch of K2E Canada shared the 5 New Brain Disorders for the Digital Age with our audience. It was hilarious. I didn’t realize at the time that these are real disorders. The article 5 New Brain Disorders was first published in The Week on February 28, 2017, written by Tammy Kennon.
In today’s digital lifestyle, micro-blogs and Internet browsing have shortened our attention spans, reduced our patience, and changed our learning behaviors. This is why you hear pediatricians and educators warn us about limited screen-time for children under 10 years old. New neurological phobias and disorders have emerged, affecting this online generation.
Here are the 5 new digital disorders, paraphrased to accommodate those with shortened attention spans:
Nomophobia or No Mobile Phobia is the irrational fear or panic brought on by separation from one’s phone or tablet. In a recent UK survey, 73% of respondents claimed to have felt panic when they misplaced their smartphone. Of the 73%, 14% of those spiraled from panic to desperation.
Technoference is the interruption or interference in relationships, leisure time and life satisfaction caused by technology. In a recent survey, 40% said they had postponed being intimate with partner because of some pending interaction on their smartphone.
- The Phantom Ring
This phobia refers to the perception that one’s mobile device is ringing, buzzing or pinging when it is not actually doing so. In a recent poll of 320 adults, two-thirds reported experiencing phantom ringing.
Cyberchondria, not to be confused with Hypochondria, refers to people who diagnose their own illness online. This is a serious problem, as those in the medical profession will attest, because online self-diagnosis is fraught with inaccuracies and inconsistencies that incorrectly lead the patient to the rarest and worst-possible afflictions.
- Truman Show Delusion
Taking its name from the 1998 film, The Truman Show, this syndrome refers to the irrational belief that someone is watching (or filming) you. Although this is not caused directly by our smartphones or digital devices, it is exacerbated by the social-media driven, reality-TV obsessed, connected lifestyle that feeds our narcissistic tendencies.