Nomophobia. A study based on the opinions of future primary school teachersNomofobia. Un estudio sobre la opinión de un grupo de futuros maestros de primaria doxa.comunicación | nº 35, pp. 193-210 | 193July-December of 2022ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978How to cite this article: Amar, V. and Sánchez, B. (2022). Nomophobia. A study based on the opinions of future primary school teachers. Doxa Comunicación, 35, pp. 193-210.https://doi.org/10.31921/doxacom.n35a1317Víctor Amar. PhD and University Professor, Department of Didactics, Faculty of Education Science, University of Cadiz. Professor of the Master’s Degree in Educational Research for the Professional Development of Teachers; University of Cadiz. Professor of the Inter-university Master’s Degree in Strategic Management and Innovation in Communication; University of Cadiz and Malaga. Lecturer of the Doctoral Programme entitled, “Educational Research and Practice”, University of Cadiz. Director of the research group HUM 818 “Edu-communication; Educom”, which is part of the Andalusian Research Plan of the Andalusian Regional Government. Professor Amar’s lines of research are related to edu-communication, educational technology, and media/new media in education. Director of the journal http, which belongs to the Publications Service of the University of Cadiz. He is also a professorial mentor at UNED-Cádiz and a visiting professor at the Universidade Estadual de Bahía (UNEB, Brazil). Member of REICIM (Red Ecuatoriana De Investigación Cientíca Inclusiva MultidisciplinarEcuatorian Network of Multidisciplinary Inclusive Scientic Research), as well as a member of the University Institute for Research in Hispanic World Studies (IN_EMHis) of the University of Cadiz.University of Cadiz, Spainvictor.amar@uca.esORCID: 0000-0001-9036-2651 Begoña Sánchez. Professor in the Department of Didactics and School Organisation, Faculty of Education Science, University of Cadiz. Bachelor’s Degree in Pedagogy (University of Granada). Master’s Degree in Gender, Identity and Citizenship (University of Cadiz). PhD in Art and Humanities (University of Cadiz). Member of the research group HUM 818 (EDUCOM), which is part of the Andalusian Research Plan of the Andalusian Regional Government. Co-director of the Andalusian Observatory on gender diversity, health and citizenship. Professor Sánchez is also linked to the University Research Institute for Sustainable Social Development (INDESS), University of Cadiz. Her lines of research are related to inclusive education, gender, teacher training, and educational technology.University of Cadiz, Spain begonia.sanchez@uca.esORCID: 0000-0002-1242-4172Abstract:Nomophobia is the feeling of discomfort, anxiety or irrational fear that results from not having a mobile phone. In order to achieve the objective of revealing and analysing the feelings of university students, we have used a qualitative methodology based on the analysis, interpretation, and organisation of information provided by a forum that was part of a fourth-year subject in a primary education degree. Results have been drawn from the opinions of participants regarding diverse judgments of nomophobia linked to professional or personal issues. For this reason, Resumen: La nomofobia es la sensación de malestar, ansiedad o miedo irracio-nal que se produce al estar sin el teléfono móvil. Para dar respuesta al objetivo de conocer y analizar el sentir del alumnado universitario nos valemos de la metodología cualitativa inspirada en el análisis, interpre-tación y ordenación de la información vertida en el foro de una asigna-tura de cuarto curso del grado de educación primaria. Los resultados se extraen a partir de la opinión de los participantes sobre diversos parece-res en relación con la nomofobia, vinculado a lo profesional o personal. Received: 16/08/2021 - Accepted: 03/03/2022 - Early access: 30/03/2022 - Published: 01/07/2022Recibido: 16/08/2021 - Aceptado: 03/03/2022 - En edición: 30/03/2022 - Publicado: 01/07/2022
194 | nº 35, pp. 193-210 | July-December of 2022Nomophobia. A study based on the opinions of future primary school teachersISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978doxa.comunicación1. IntroductionPeople talk about phobias with regard to many aspects of life. In the same way, we could also speak about philias. However, this is not just a trend. It is also a way of relating to things, an example of which is the mobile phone. We are now confronting a reality that has emerged and developed within the realm of technology for some time. In fact, there is no doubt that there are two clearly dierentiated environments with regard to the nuances involved in being in favour of, or against, the use of technology in everyday life: those of technophiles and those of technophobes. However, with regard to this particular issue, one might say that we have been experiencing a phenomenon that is nothing new, which is the strong imposition of English-speaking terms in everyday life.In this sense, with regard to the eld of technology, people talk about e-learning, e-mail, homepage, streaming, password, online, forward, and wireless, among a plethora of other terms. is alleged invasion shapes the way we feel and relate to technology (Marta-Lazo and Gabelas, 2016). Some even believe there is English jargon that is considered instrumental in the use of technology, programmes, and applications. It is safe to say that there are people who only know these concepts in English. Moreover, abbreviations emanate from this language as well, such as nomophobia (“no-mobile-phone-phobia”), which is also the subject of this article. Furthermore, prestigious studies have been carried out over the past decade that have paved the way for the research herein (León et al., 2021; Rey et al., 2010), the former of which have addressed the issue from the viewpoint of addiction (Pascual and Castelló, 2020), or even education itself (Colomo et al., 2020).In general terms, nomophobia could be dened as the feeling of discomfort or anxiety caused by being without a mobile phone. It can become an irrational fear of not being able to interact with this wireless device, either because one has forgotten to take it with them, or the battery is dead, or there is simply no coverage. With the technological revolution, or evolution, this situation has been extended to smartphones, which have the unique feature of functioning like a computer. In other words, there are people who are highly dependent on these wireless devices, which could be considered an addiction (Skarupová et al., 2016). erefore, a more appropriate term would be techno-addiction, which is sometimes considered a dependence, or simply a way of taking refuge in one thing when something else is missing.is can become a problem when the smartphone controls its owner, rather than the other way around. e dependence of users is such that they are unable to live their lives or feel good without their phone, as they believe they are missing out on something by not being connected to reality, or in other words, to their technological reality. e user lacks his or her dose of immediacy, or their hyper-simplication pill, which can open windows with a simple click and allow them to see, understand, and participate in their thematic blocks have been established according to various meanings that form part of the discourse. In conclusion, agreement was reached that the participants do not see themselves as addicts, but rather as individuals who are attracted to mobile phones, yet they are concerned about this circumstance and believe they will have to manage the situation in their role as future educational professionals.Keywords: University; education; Nomophobia; initial teacher training.Para ello, se establecen bloques temáticos en torno a diferentes signica-dos que forman parte del discurso. En las conclusiones cabría convenir que no se reconocen adictos, solo atraídos por los teléfonos móviles, ade-más de ser una preocupación, para la que han de saber dar respuesta, como futuros profesionales de la educación.Palabras clave: Universidad; educación; Nomofobia; formación inicial del profesorado.
doxa.comunicación | nº 35, pp. 193-210 | July-December of 2022Víctor Amar and Begoña SánchezISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978195world (Cabero, 2016; Sacristán, 2018; Cabero and Marín, 2019). In short, it allows them to stay connected with their surroundings (Aparici and García, 2017).Of course, anxiety caused by not having a mobile phone has some variants, as this feeling of lack is not only generated when the device is left at home, as the person knows they will have access to it later. Instead, it can also occur when the phone has been left somewhere, when the battery or credit has run out (in the case of prepaid phones), or in other circumstances, such as a lack of coverage. In these cases, anxiety occurs, and the fact of not being connected makes the user feel uncomfortable. To a large extent, the user is unhappy when she or he does not have their phone in their hands and cannot freely access their content or relationships. Moreover, from that moment on, “the lack of communication” (Alonso-Fernández, 2003: 63), or the feeling of isolation, takes hold of the user, while non-communication, interpreted as solitude, extends to the rest of their contacts.e nomophobic person displays anxiety when they are unable to connect to their reality through the smartphone. ey live in a way that is dependent and constrained; their desire or habit is to be permanently online, or at least to be assured that they can connect at any time. Apparently, this is a pathology caused by the abuse or overuse of the mobile phone, producing stress, bad moods, anxiety, and despair (González et al., 2020). e daily lives of users are limited by what we interpret as misuse of a device that is utilised for communication, information, and relationships (Garrido et al., 2016).Excessive use of mobile phones exists and manifests itself in various ways (Besoli et al., 2018; Santana et al., 2019). For example, phubbing is the act of ignoring a person, and even one’s own immediate surroundings, by focusing on technology, as well as the mobile phone and its content (Ríos Ariza et al., 2021). Moreover, if this activity is interrupted, the user may become restless, annoyed, or even violent on some occasions. However, nomophobia might be related to monophobia, or the fear of being alone. When someone does not want to be alone, they need connection with others, at least with their circle of friends or acquaintances. To a certain extent, this explains their haste in giving their contact information to other people. Similarly, we are confronted with a unique way of experiencing demophobia, or the fear of crowds, which has been replaced by mobile screens. In other words, the user has the sensation of being with others, but not physically.After all, what more does a person need? ere is no doubt that everything a person needs can be accessed through their mobile phone. In other words, the user can work, order food, nd companionship, watch a lm, or nd whatever information they need...e person is so closely attached to their mobile phone that not having it near can cause discomfort. Clearly, we are facing a situation with a social impact (García-Umaña, 2017), an addiction (Muñoz-Rivas and Agustín, 2005), or even a trend (Sánchez-Carbonell et al., 2008). Furthermore, at the present time, we see this as a relevant object of study with regard to the students of the university that was used to develop this paper. To this end, we have established a general objective of gaining knowledge and furthering our understanding in this area, which we have combined as two specic aims: a) to reveal the feelings of a group of university students who have participated in a forum related to the subject entitled, “Communication and information technology in education”, as part of the primary education degree at a Spanish university; and b) to understand why they have certain opinions about nomophobia. Likewise, following the teachings of Decuir-Gunby and Schutz (2017: 33), we propose the following research questions, based on the maxim, What do I want to know? What is the general reason students give to support their opinions? What encourages certain views on nomophobia?
196 | nº 35, pp. 193-210 | July-December of 2022Nomophobia. A study based on the opinions of future primary school teachersISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978doxa.comunicación What have these decisions involved, and what will they entail for the professional development of these future primary school teachers? Where might all of this lead? Are the students prepared to face a multi-faceted, professional reality? What possible obstacles will they face? What eects will they encounter in their personal and professional development? 2. Methodology2.1. General information and intervieweesQualitative research can be a sound way of analysing and gaining knowledge about a situation that currently looms over university students. In fact, qualitative research has certainly “come of age” (Flick, 2014: 19). Mejía describes qualitative research as “the methodological procedure that uses words, text, discourse, drawings, graphs and images, in order to understand social life through meanings from a comprehensive perspective” (2004: 278). In this sense, the present research has been carried out following the guidelines of a design that is qualitative and interpretative in nature (Denzin and Lincoln, 2005; Hernández et al. 2006), of the documentary type, which has determined the selection process and access to the documentary sample: the class forum of a subject in communication and educational technology.Likewise, the instrument we used to address the students’ feelings were the comments made in the forum of the optional subject entitled, “Communication and information technology in education”, which is part of the nal year of the primary education degree at this Spanish university. We started with the topic question, “Do you know what nomophobia is?” e discussion went on for 10 days, during which time the forum was active until the next topic was introduced, which was entitled, “e risks of Fortnite”. By using a documentary design, we addressed the forum comments. Authors such as Montagud (2020) point out that documentary research obtains, selects, organises, interprets, compiles, and analyses information through diverse documentary sources, such as books, hemerography, and audio-visual registers, among others.Of a total of 149 students enrolled in the course, the number of responses was 94, with 51 students participating, as some of them responded more than once to the other participants in the forum. e rest did not reply, although we know that they participated by reading the comments of their classmates, yet without leaving a record of their presence at the forum. e activity was not for assessment.e anonymity of the participants has been completely protected. It should also be noted that they all agreed to take part in the research. is was communicated to them in class, days before the forum was opened. However, the professor preferred to stay in the background and not participate with replies or counter-replies, feeling that it might disrupt the ow of conversation, the participative dynamics, or even “adulterate” the students’ opinions.We have also acknowledged the diversity of viewpoints as well. is will benet us by broadening our points of view, as their interaction with each other will lead to a better understanding of this phenomenon with mobile phones. Likewise, we will not lose
doxa.comunicación | nº 35, pp. 193-210 | July-December of 2022Víctor Amar and Begoña SánchezISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978197sight of the possible inuence that this phobia might have on the classroom, relationships with students, and school performance, once the participants become teachers.e event began on Friday, 15 March 2019, and the forum opened with the following words: Hello. I am posting a topic of debate... But first, please read this small article from the magazine, Muy Interesante... https://www.muyinteresante.es/curiosidades/preguntas-respuestas/que-es-la-nomofobia-151392813381 Later, we will discuss it in the class forum. Kind regards, your professor.e rst message was written on Sunday, 17 March 2019, and the last one was sent on Sunday, 26 March 2019, on which date the class forum was closed, and another one was started the following day. is activity continued with various topics of debate until the end of the course.Forums are highly valid instruments for information and analysis, which we have used in a conversation style. According to Kvale (2011: 23), conversation “is a fundamental mode of human interaction. Humans talk to each other, interact, ask questions, and give answers. rough conversation, we get to know other people, learn about their experiences, feelings and hopes, and learn about the world they live in”.2.2. Phases and proceduresis research was carried out in several phases. Nevertheless, following the ideas of Álvarez-Gayou (2005), a methodological sequence and order was established. In this regard, the phases of the research were as follows: Phase 1; Plan the documentary research. Select, propose, and delimit the topic. Develop a plan and organise the work. Action a) Provide relevant information about the research in which the interviewees would take part. Action b) Establish the research topic and specify the opening and closing dates of the discussion forum. Phase 2: Gather and select information. Read documents as well as collect and organise information. Action a) Gather and organise the information. Phase 3: Analyse, interpret, and classify the information. Action a) Codify the information and carry out triangulation. Phase 4: Write the research paper. Structure and write the paper. Action a) Integrate the information and write the report. Action b) Adapt it to article format and carry out the nal writing.Likewise, the decision was made to establish core topics in order to help “shape meaning (...) In this way, it moves away from conceptual categories, or from the attempt to describe, and instead attempts to shape meaning” (Misischia, 2020: 72). Such meaning, in turn, includes the factors that “structure the narrative, are connected, and form part of the discourse” (Ayala, 2017: 92).Most certainly, as pointed out by Flick (2004: 15), “Qualitative research has specic relevance for the study of social relations, due to the fact that life situations are pluralistic”. Our choice of using a qualitative methodology resulted from the need to carry out a study on a current topic that is very close to human and social relations. Moreover, the boundaries that encompass the topic are in continual transformation. As pointed out by Pérez Serrano, “A qualitative methodology refers in its broadest sense to research that
198 | nº 35, pp. 193-210 | July-December of 2022Nomophobia. A study based on the opinions of future primary school teachersISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978doxa.comunicaciónproduces descriptive data: people’s own words, spoken or written, and observable behaviour” (2001: 29). us, we have chosen to work with university students and the mobile phone, under the pretext of nomophobia.Moreover, the qualitative research inspired by the documentary design is a proposal for analysing the writings of a class activity, based on the subject forum. In line with Ruiz (2012), documentary analysis is based on the use of reading as a technique for collecting information, and must be carried out in a way that is methodical, objective, inquisitive, and valid, which is how we intend to clarify our work. With this in mind, the texts are the subject of analysis and triangulation, the intention of which is to understand the students’ contributions. In short, “Discourse analysis constitutes a methodological framework for documentary analysis, with the understanding that documents are discourses expressed through texts” (Peña Vera; Pirela Morillo, 2007: 63). We concur with Rivas (2009: 29) that the aim is “To better understand the society in which we live based on the actions of each and every one of those who are part of it”.In this regard, it should be pointed out that “the task of research is to bring to light the implicit assumptions and premises of social life that are subject to transformation, as well as the propositions that remain unchanged” (Popkewitz, 1998: 77). Furthermore, this is our methodological slogan, through the use of discourse analysis as a technique, without forgetting that everything is interpretable, and that we are interested in establishing a climate of reection on nomophobia in order to understand it.2.3. Ethical commitmentIn research of this nature, it is essential to establish guidelines that endorse an ethical commitment. As opposed to an extractivist approach, the responsibility was placed on the group of participants in order to keep them informed through comments in class with clear reference to the results and existence of a previous report. Among the ethical principles taken into account for this research, we have considered informed consent to be a basic principle that guarantees the autonomy and right to privacy of the participants’ data. is consists of ensuring that the participants are aware of the risks, benets and consequences that may arise during the development of the research in which they are involved (Vargas et al., 2007). People who participate in research must be aware of the entire process and “must receive information about the objectives of the research, the type of participation required or expected, as well as the use that will be made of the results obtained” (Abad, 2015: 105).Likewise, our work is based on three ethical principles (Denzin, 2008: 189): “respect for others”; “knowing how to listen”; and “caution and humility”. Finally, the ethical responsibility to which we have been committed in this research is based on what has been explicitly stated by Roth and Unger (2018). ese authors subscribe to such elementary aspects as anonymity, or even co-responsibility in qualitative research, linked to gaining knowledge and disclosing it.To nalise this sub-section on ethical commitment, we concur with the words of Ricouer (2006: 20-21), who maintains that “life can only be understood through the stories we tell about it, so one might say that a life examined is a life narrated”. For this reason, our intention is to learn from the opinion of the students themselves. ey are the ones that we consider to be the future professionals with epistemological value. Moreover, this entire endeavour has had a common denominator, which is honesty in research, in relation to the comments made by the participants and the value of their contributions (Cerillo, 2009; Abad, 2016).