FOBO – or the Fear of Being Offline is not a medically recognised condition, but it can be a real problem.
Modern life is increasingly dependent on the Internet. Managing finances, shopping and communicating with friends and family is all done online.
We rely on apps to give us the news headlines and emails to keep us up to date with projects at work. Downtime is usually spent taking a quick peek at our social networks for a quick fix of humour or gossip.
This obsession with connectivity has a dark side though. Some people experience genuine emotional distress when they lose access to the internet.
In fact, some people even have problems with the thought of not being able to go online.
How do I know if I have FOBO?
If you’re concerned, here are the warning signs:
- You take a backup battery and charging cable for your phone everywhere you go
- Thinking about losing internet access makes you distressed
- You constantly scan for Wi-Fi connections so that your phone is always online
- You avoid places where you know the mobile signal/Wi-Fi is unreliable
- Your pre-travel research always begins with Wi-Fi availability at the destination
Ultimately, if connectivity is your priority in most situations, you may have FOBO.
The best protection against FOBO is to reduce the risk of losing internet access. This means taking steps to ensure that you don’t lose connectivity in the first place.
Things to consider include:
- Choosing a mobile network provider with extensive coverage to reduce the risk of being caught in a blackspot
- Installing anti-malware software on your phone and PC to prevent your connection being hijacked or broken
- Replacing your router or installing Wi-Fi repeaters throughout your home to boost network coverage and eliminate blackspots
- Taking out a roaming Wi-Fi subscription to use national networks like The Cloud when you’re out and about
- Planning your travel routes to avoid rural areas with known blackspots
This all might sound a bit daft, but people really do experience anxiety at the thought of going offline. Hopefully these tips will help to manage those concerns.