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Phone anxiety? Gen-Z-ers say DND!

Does the sound of your phone ringing induce the same anxiousness as a horror movie score? Or do constant messages make you pull out your phone every other minute to check if you’re missing something important? If so, you are not alone. According to research, a majority of Gen Z face phone phobia and are likely to ignore calls and messages that are unwanted or unexpected.

Did you know?
31% of Indians are addicted to their phones
84% of phone users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up
(According to a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group )

75% of millennials find phone calls time-consuming
63% of people use the excuse ‘I didn’t notice it ring or vibrate’
12% of people blame phone signal
81% of millennials get apprehension anxiety before making a call
(According to bankmycell)

Research by behavioural psychologist Dr Albert Mehrabian in the 1970s states that most of our communication is non-verbal and that 55% comes from our body language—eye contact, facial expressions, etc. While these factors are not present over calls or text messages, they allow you to take time and build a response whereas unexpected calls or repeated messages create pressure to respond right away.

“I received over 100 notifications daily that cluttered my phone screen. The constant beeping would cause anxiety and also disrupt my sleep. Eventually, I disabled my notifications for social media which has helped me tackle unnecessary interruptions” — Udita Singhal , a communications professional

New York-based political strategist Max Burns took to X, formerly Twitter, to express his surprise over his Gen Z coworkers using the “Do Not Disturb” function on their phones to avoid speaking to people. While the DND feature is used to silence notifications, many people, including Gen Z, are using it as a way to manage the anxiety caused by receiving multiple notifications.

Tips to fix phone anxiety
Dr Sonal Anand , psychiatrist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, recommends turning off notifications from time to time and learning to keep the phone away to focus on things in the present. “These common habits affect interpersonal behaviour. Putting your phone on DND or turning notifications off for some time reduces anxiety, and stress, makes you focus and also helps you sleep better.”