With it now being an inescapable fact of life that many of us are now hopelessly dependent on our mobile phones, one question that crops up increasingly frequently is 'what would I do without it?
In fact, such dependence can lead to problems, as new research from the McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, stated that with this dependence comes anxiety. It noted that losing a phone leads to an "immediate disconnection" from a person's online contacts, as well as creating worries about potential privacy and security risks should it fall into the wrong hands.
Some publications used this to declare that 'smartphone-loss anxiety disorder' is a real condition, but the researchers themselves have emphasised that this is not the case.
Lead author Dr Zhiling Tu looked to set the record straight, telling the Pacific Standard: "We did not research on 'loss anxiety' or 'disorder'. We just tried to analyse [how] people would cope with device loss and what factors led people to cope with such [a] security threat."
However, the research did find most people think they'd be in big trouble were they to lose their smartphone. More than six out of ten said their privacy could be invaded if their device was lost or stolen, while 57 per cent agreed that data stored in the lost mobile device could be subject to unauthorised use.
The researchers therefore looked at how people would look to try and prevent this – and found that many people aren't aware of settings that can prevent unauthorised access to a misplaced handset, while some remain in denial about the risks of losing their phone.
Indeed, 72 per cent did not know their device could be set to automatically erase data after a number of failed login attempts, while 47 per cent were unaware of remote wiping capabilities.
The research suggested more efforts to raise awareness about what steps people can take could therefore greatly help ease people's worries about how they'd cope should the worst happen.