Smartphones have given us unlimited access to the internet, but also made people over-dependent on it, to the extent that loss of connection while travelling may lead to irritation and anxiety.
According to a new study, a greater dependence on internet leads to the development of web-dependence anxiety.
Young people and the better educated, or simply the more information literate, tend to have a greater "smartphone web-dependence," which can significantly increase without reliable and fast access to the internet, says Hui-Jen Yang from National Chin-Yi University of Technology, in Taichung, Taiwan.
The findings, detailed in the International Journal of Information and Communication Technology, have implications for the psychology of our interaction with technology.
They also relate to attachment theory, which 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, the researchers noted.
The study suggests that separation anxiety is just as real for people and their smartphones, although the problem is obviously a one-sided issue.